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Dan Choi Gets West Point Ring Back After DADT Repeal

By DNAinfo Staff on December 23, 2010 3:18pm

By Gabriela Resto-Montero

DNAinfo Reporter/Producer

MANHATTAN — For Christmas this year Lt. Dan Choi got a promise ring.

Choi had sent his West Point graduation ring to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to remind the senator of a promise he made to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, banning gays and lesbians from serving openly, by the end of the year.

With President Barack Obama's signing of a law overturning the ban Wednesday, Reid made good on his promise and returned the ring to Choi, a Manhattan resident.

"Five months after I promised to repeal DADT, I'm so happy to give this West Point ring back to Lt. Dan Choi," Reid tweeted along with a photo of the exchange in his office.

Choi, an Iraq war veteran who was discharged from the Army after coming out, also tweeted the event.

"Reclaiming my West Point ring at 1 p in the majority leader's office," Choi wrote.

"I'm grateful for his leadership, service and safe-keeping," he said.

The repeal of the policy signaled a huge victory for Choi, 29, who became the face of opposition to DADT after coming out, with an active Twitter feed and frequent television appearances.

In October, Choi tried to re-enlist in the armed forces at a recruiting center in Times Square after a court decision forcing military recruiters to accept openly gay recruits.

After a Senate decision blocking a vote on a repeal of DADT, Choi tweeted his disappointment.

"Today is a very painful day," Choi wrote on Dec. 10. "I simply advise you to never stop fighting."

Days later, he was involuntarily hospitalized after suffering a mental breakdown he said was brought on by the feeling of betrayal and exploitation from activists and leaders who failed to act against DADT.

Despite passage of the law overturning the ban, Choi pointed out that it did not include protection for transgender service members.

And, while he said overturning DADT was a step in the right direction in the fight for LGBT rights, Choi made it clear that the fight for equality was far from over.

"The next time I get a ring from a man," he said. "I expect it to be for full, equal, American marriage."