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Department of Defense to Service Members: Homos Get Half

November 10, 2010



There’s been lots going on around Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) this fall, from a federal judge ordering the reinstatement of Maj. Margaret Witt, to the Obama Administration getting a stay of an order from another federal judge that would have barred the enforcement of DADT worldwide, to continuing efforts at repealing the law in Congress. The ACLU LGBT Project has just added to the frenzy with a new class action case that challenges another form of discrimination faced by gay service members — reduced separation pay.

If you serve six years in the military and are then discharged involuntarily, Congress says you’re entitled to separation pay to help ease your transition to civilian life. But the military has a policy — not required by any law — of cutting that separation pay in half if you’re discharged, even honorably, for “homosexuality.”

That policy needlessly compounds the discrimination inflicted by DADT in the first place. Take the lead plaintiff in our case, Richard Collins. He was a decorated Air Force Staff Sergeant who served nine years before being kicked out under DADT. He was seen kissing his civilian boyfriend, in a car at a stoplight, when he was off duty, out of uniform, and 10 miles off base.

via Blog of Rights: Official Blog of the American Civil Liberties Union » Department of Defense to Service Members: Homos Get Half.