A lesbian former cadet who left West Point saying she couldn't live a lie was rejected for readmission Wednesday because of the lingering military ban on gays and said she is giving up on her dream of graduating from the academy.
Katherine Miller said in a statement that she plans to graduate from Yale University, which she's now attending, and join the military through officer candidate school.
"Although I am deeply saddened that I will not be readmitted to West Point, I understand and respect the decision," said Miller, 21, of Findlay, Ohio.
She said that although she had always wanted to serve alongside her comrades as an equal, "I harbor no resentment toward the military, and I look forward to the day they deem it appropriate for me to put the uniform back on."
Miller left West Point last year and soon became a public face of the effort to repeal the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell," or DADT, which bars gays and lesbians from serving openly. But she missed the storied upstate New York academy and applied as the government moved to repeal.
In announcing Miller's rejection, West Point issued a statement explaining that it couldn't accept Miller because of the still-existing ban but hinting that re-entry wouldn't be a problem for her in the future.
"While at the academy Ms. Miller remained in good standing and had done exceptionally well academically, militarily and physically," said Lt. Col. Sherri Reed, director of public affairs at West Point. "The choice to seek readmission is available to her once the repeal process is completed."
Still, the decision highlights activists' complaints that the Department of Defense's too-deliberate process is holding things up for gays and lesbians who want to serve.
"For every day the clock ticks, investigations under DADT continue, and service members remain at risk," said the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, which offers legal counsel to gay and lesbian military members.
It's supposed to be a done deal 60 days after the president and senior defense advisers certify that the repeal won't hurt troops' ability to fight. It could go into full effect by late summer or early fall, by some estimates.
Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, an organization of gay and lesbian troops and veterans, said openly gay applicants could not be sure the policy would be repealed by the start of classes -- for West Point, Aug. 15.
Servicemembers United recently installed on its website a countdown clock marking the time elapsed since President Obama signed the repeal. Nicholson, its director, said he didn't think there was any ill will behind West Point's decision.
"I think that should be expected from West Point," said Nicholson. "I think their hands are tied."