Discharged Servicemembers Suing Government For Denying Severance Under DADT

Under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, thousands of discharged gay and lesbian servicemembers were denied “separation pay,” the money traditionally given to dismissed soldiers to help transition to civilian life. Separation pay is usually standard policy: If you’ve served at least six years and are discharged involuntarily, you’re entitled to it. But soldiers dismissed for being gay or lesbian were routinely denied the pay.

Last year the ACLU filed a lawsuit on behalf of 142 servicemembers denied their separation pay—but the government asked the court to dismiss the case. Today, though, Federal Claims Court Judge Christine Miller denied the request and is allowing the case to proceed.

The ACLU’s Josha Block explains:

The government will have to explain to [the gay veterans] and to the rest of the public how cutting their pay in half served important governmental interests. The government will have to make that explanation, even though the Pentagon has already issued a detailed report making clear that discrimination against gay and lesbian service members is entirely unnecessary and doesn’t serve the interests of the military. Good luck with that.

Ah, DADT—the gift that keeps on giving.