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Bill would give ‘honorable’ discharges to service members kicked out under DADT

Friday, January 31, 2014

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sens. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) on Thursday introduced legislation to correct the records of service members discharged from the U.S. military solely due to their sexual orientation prior to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, to reflect honorable service and reinstate benefits they would have earned.

military“The repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ was a watershed moment, ending institutionalized discrimination that unjustly targeted gay and lesbian members of the military,” said Schatz said. “Yet thousands of former service members still bear the scars of that discrimination, with their military records tarnished with discharges other than honorable and marks on their records that compromise their right to privacy.”

“Many of these brave men and women that served our country are currently barred from benefits that they earned and are entitled to, and in the most egregious cases they are prevented from legally calling themselves a veteran,” he said. “This needs to be corrected now.”

Since World War II, more than 100,000 Americans are estimated to have been discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation. Those forced out of the military may have left with discharge statuses of “other than honorable,” “general discharge” or “dishonorable,” depending on the circumstances.

As a consequence, many of these service members may be disqualified from accessing certain benefits, such as veterans’ health care and GI bill tuition assistance, and may not be able to claim veteran status.

The consequences of a negative discharge status can often be far-reaching, preventing some veterans from voting and making it more difficult for them to acquire civilian employment.

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The legislation would cut existing red tape at the Department of Defense and simplify the process for veterans who were discharged under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell seeking an opportunity to have their records corrected to reflect an honorable discharge and give the service member all rights, privileges and benefits associated with honorable service.

“A clean, honorable record is long overdue for veterans who were discharged solely because of who they love. Our veterans served our country courageously and with dignity and we must act to give them the appropriate recognition they deserve.”

U.S. Reps. Mark Pocan (D-Wis.) and Charles Rangel (D-N.Y.) introduced the House companion bill in June 2013 where it is pending consideration.

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54 more reader comments:

  1. This will put piss in the cooked oats of the GOP!!

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:46pm
  2. take my middle finger!

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:46pm
  3. I managed a Honorable Discharge under medical “pre-existing condition”. However lost all benefits, like VA. Discharged in 1997.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:46pm
  4. Are you glbt, or was your discharge unrelated to DADT?

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:50pm
  5. Officially I was slapped with Bi-polar for being T

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:56pm
  6. who’s Bill?

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:49pm
  7. Better late than never. Too bad for those who could not find employment after their honorable service with a dishonorable discharge on their record.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:49pm
  8. OMG! It’s about time! I ended up with a “General Under Honorable Conditions” discharge when they booted me for being gay in 2001. I lost all benefits EXCEPT for my VA Medical. Losing my College Benefits was the biggest blow. It would be amazing to have another shot at them, fo sho. :)

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:51pm
  9. I'm so sorry that happened to you. I had an honorable discharge also in 2001 and could not even imagine the horror that you must have gone thru. Hope this happens so they begin to reverse the total injustice that was done to you. Those of us who served our country deserve respect and it's owed to you.

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 11:44pm
  10. Bradley Alan, i hope that they restore your benefits. Thank you for your service

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:05am
  11. That is horrible and unjust what you have been threw. Am I ever so glad that congress finally told FRC and other right wing fundamentalist groups screw you back in 2010. I hope you get everything back that was unfairly stripped from you Bradley. No solider who has risk his or her life to defend my freedom and the freedom of all should ever be treated that way because of who they love and care.

    Replied on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:23am
  12. Here’s hoping it passes. DADT was unfair to our service men and women who put their lives on the line.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:51pm
  13. It is about time. What about those of us kicked out because we have HIV?

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:52pm
  14. :( I'm sorry that's awful!

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 6:54pm
  15. Umm sorry no. You just cant deploy you will not be kicked out. http://www.armyg1.army.mil/hr/hivdna/res_faq.asp and http://usmilitary.about.com/library/milinfo/blarmyhiv.htm Please stop making crap up about the service

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:35pm
  16. Also Im sorry but if you were not raped and didnt get HIV from a tainted blood transfusion you got it through behavior that was your own doing so no pity from me.

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:42pm
  17. Daniel Lazzara, what a horrible thing to post. Maybe you should get some HIV education. Or better yet, just keep your ill informed opinion to yourself.

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 8:37pm
  18. Really then educate me? Please tell me how it isnt gotten through either the two methods I mentioned above or your own behavior? Oh well I did forget a cheating spouse or long term partner so thats possible and if its the case then said person should face prison time. Though I am willing to bet those situations that you could have contracted hiv later in life that are not your fault are not even half the cases out there.

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 9:10pm
  19. NO ONE certainly not me is asking for your pity. I got my Honorable after I threatened to sue. * years of service. Pity I think not. Being a BIGOT that something I am glad I don't have to live with. What a small sad life you must have.

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 10:18pm
  20. Sorry I just live in reality. The bulk of people who got HIV later in life got it through poor life choices. This isnt bigotry that is just fact. And as I said you lied about people being discharged for it. I provided two links that prove that this is NOT allowed according to regulation. Sorry but making crap up wont fly with me.

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 11:33pm
  21. I really hope this passes! DADT was completely unfair.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:01pm
  22. What about reinstatement?

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:02pm
  23. Wonder what the republican reasoning will be for opposing this bill?

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:05pm
  24. Good question?

    Replied on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 11:47pm
  25. For those of us discharged Honorably will it remove the “Homosexual Conduct” I’ve been waiting for a correction since it’s repeal!

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:09pm
  26. it needs to be restored

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:10pm
  27. Eric reinstatement as long as you meet the entry requirements is handled fairly seamlessly DOD has put out all RE4 under DADT should be treated as RE1 as long as other contributing factors did not exist (I.e. Other criminal offenses under the UCMJ)

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:16pm
  28. It had better do something for those of us kicked out prior to this.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:19pm
  29. Not only should the Discharges be corrected but benefits should be restored.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:19pm
  30. Well I am a Republican but I would love to see this happen. I don’t care who, what and how anybody else lives/loves with whatever choice of partner they have. Men and women in our armed forces deserve respect and their sexual orientation should not cast a shadow over that. Hopefully this is yet another small step in the right direction to right the wrongs and injustices that these men and women have endured.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:21pm
  31. Hurray, now reinstate them too if those service members want to!

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:24pm
  32. So many were outed by others who weren’t officially told. The military would sit on it until just before discharge or retirement, then used disclosure of others to deny benefits.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:47pm
  33. This is so long overdue!

    How about honorable discharges, restoring all lost benefits, and also reinstating ALL LGBT veterans discharged under DADT if they want that?

    How about ending the other 1/2 of DADT that is still in place which does not allow our Trans* service members to serve openly the way they do in other advanced nations?

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 7:50pm
  34. believe it when I get a letter in the mail…

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 8:02pm
  35. Im so glad dadt is over. I’ve always wanted to enlist and i was really upset when i found out about it. Now I’m allowed to join

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 8:08pm
  36. A casual reading of The Constitution of the United States of America should have meant that this outrage never happened in the first place!

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 8:21pm
  37. It is absoultely far to restore the honorable discharge status and benefits.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 9:51pm
  38. Good news.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 10:20pm
  39. Finally, they deserve it.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 10:37pm
  40. I’ve been wondering when that would happen.

    Posted on Friday, January 31, 2014 at 11:26pm
  41. What about those who served prior to DADT that were discharged because of Homosexual/Bisexual behavior?

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:09am
  42. The only way to grant these service men and women the justice they deserve! Bravo!

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:32am
  43. Good. Past time.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 12:57am
  44. Should be done now!

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:08am
  45. The Republicans controlling the House of “Representatives” will block it.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:11am
  46. Terrific! I hope it passes.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 1:17am
  47. they better!

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 5:58am
  48. About fucking time!

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 6:24am
  49. WAYYY past time

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 11:00am
  50. Pre-DODT here. 1984. The USMC did me the “kindness” of making mine a general (failure to adapt), rather than “this faggot got caught taking it from a drill Instructor”. Good luck to the rest of you, though!

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 11:08am
  51. Fantastic. Alas,the House will never go for it.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:10pm
  52. it is about time..

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 2:22pm
  53. This must be corrected ASAP.
    I bet those who have committed sexual assault against female colleagues get
    honorable discharges.

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 4:10pm
  54. So cool. There are so many who have serious problems – and had these problems before they were dishonorably discharged and are the REASON they were dishonorably discharged – and need help. :)

    Posted on Saturday, February 1, 2014 at 6:19pm