By Jeremy Herb - 04/25/12 08:27 PM EDT
Sgt. Gary Stein, the Marine who posted anti-Obama comments on his Facebook page, was given an “other than honorable” discharge from the Marines on Wednesday.
Brig. Gen. Daniel Yoo, commanding officer at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot in San Diego where Stein was based, accepted the discharge board’s recommendation that Stein be kicked out of the Marines for saying he would not follow orders from President Obama and calling him a “domestic enemy.”
The general found that “findings of misconduct were supported by the evidence of record, and thus has approved the board’s recommendation that Sgt. Stein be separated from the Marine Corps with an ‘other than honorable’ discharge,” the Marines said in a statement.
Stein had sued in federal court to try to block the discharge proceedings against him, but his motion to delay the hearing was denied.
Stein’s attorneys told The Hill last month they were considering further legal options if he was discharged. Stein accused the military of violating his First Amendment rights in the lawsuit.
Stein found an ally on Capitol Hill in Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), who is a Marine reservist. Hunter wrote a letter to the Marines asking them to drop the case against Stein because the sergeant was merely expressing personal opinions and was not representing the Marines.
The Marines wrote to Hunter to say that they would work with the Defense Department’s Office of Legal Policy to recommend an update of the Pentagon directive on service members’ political activity to better reflect social media.
Hunter spokesman Joe Kasper said it was "perplexing that the Marine Corps felt the need to go right to discharge proceedings when it could have handled this issue much differently from the start."
"There’s only one upside to this whole thing, which is that the Marine Corps recognizes its guidelines are out of date and that they need to be updated," Hunter's spokesman said in an email.
Stein got into hot water for comments he posted on his “Armed Forces Tea Party” page. At Stein's hearing, the Marines said he had superimposed Obama’s image on a “Jackass” movie poster.
Stein was dismissed for violating Defense Department rules against political speech as a member of the military and for disrupting order and discipline.
Stein will lose his benefits and receive a reduction in rank as part of the “other than honorable” discharge.
A post on the Armed Forces Tea Party page says Stein’s discharge will be postponed “until results of a medical condition, he was diagnosed with on Monday, are returned and treatment is discussed.”
— Originally posted at 3:29 p.m. and has been updated.