Darren Manzella, the gay soldier who stood up to the military's "Don't Ask Tell" policy, has died in a traffic accident in western New York according to a report by Fox News on August 30.
The news was confirmed by a relative on Friday that the 36-year-old was killed while driving on Interstate 490 in suburban Rochester about 8:30 p.m. According to a report from the Monroe County Sherriff's Office, Manzella's vehicle sideswiped a car which caused him to stop his vehicle. After getting out of the car and pushing it, he was then hit by an SUV, pinning him between both vehicles.
Darren Manzella was a brave man who represented who he was as a man and as a soldier with great courage He was also considered one of the faces in the fight to end the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban. In 2008 he was discharged from his position as a combat medic in the Army for criticizing the DADT policy which banned openly gay service members from servicing in the military.
In 2007, Manzella appeared on "60 Minutes" and talked about coming out to his superiors. At the time he wasn't punished but his discharge from the Arm soon followed. Since his discharge, Manzella worked with the Servicemembers Legal Defense network to advocate the repeal of the DADT policy, a policy that was finally lifted in 2011 allowing open gays and lesbians to serve in the military.