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The executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans says gay Army private Bradley Manning, who is suspected of leaking government information to the website WikiLeaks, is using a defense that is dishonorable to gay people in his case, being heard this week at Fort Meade in Maryland.
Army captain R. Clarke Cooper wrote in an op-ed for Stars and Stripesthat Manning is a traitor to his country for leaking the information. He added that Manning's defense, which cites his stifled feelings under "don't ask, don't tell" as part of the motivation behind sending the information, as being "a betrayal of all gay and lesbian service members past and present."
"For Manning's legal counsel at Fort Meade, Md., to suggest that his orientation and/or gender identity be part of a defense or excuse for misbehavior is as unacceptable as the use of a 'gay panic' defense by a murderer," he wrote.
Conversely, former lieutenant Dan Choi, a key activist for the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," said Manning was "a patriot who fulfilled his ethical obligation to reject war crimes in Iraq." Choi wrote in an email to followers Wednesday that Manning was his hero, and that he was the only soldier in his chain of command to live up to the Army's values.
Earlier this week, Choi was accosted by military police at Fort Meade when he attempted to attend the trial. A military spokesperson said Choi was arrested for causing a disturbance, but he was not charged, and he was released later that day.