MILITARY MANEUVERS

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.

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3 Comments

  • Cam

    Fantastic news

    Queerty, please don’t start saying that these service-people are greedy like you did with the lesbian couple trying to get the same benefits as straight couples.

  • Michael Bedwell

    With all due respect, while one could interpret that from the linked source, this policy was NOT created under DADT but was established by Pentagon Instruction DOD policy 1332.29 in June of 1991—some two years before anyone had ever heard of DADT.

    One of the classic “unintended consequences” of SLDN’s having lobbied for repeal
    only in terms of DADT was to pave over the fact that, at its core, it was nothing more than a codification of what had been Pentagon policy for half a century during which
    time over 100,000 gays were kicked out. In fact, there were nearly as many discharged—at least 13,236—during Reagan’s 8 years in office as the entire 14 years of DADT.

    But the bottomline is that it is inexcusable and reprehensible for the Administration
    taking bows for having ended the ban to continue trying to kill lawsuits seeking to
    repair its damages—before OR after it became DADT.

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