Three influential U.S. Senators—Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Joe Lieberman (I-CT), and Mark Udall (D-CO)—are pushing the Department of Defense (DOD) to act quicker in restoring honor to veterans who were discharged during the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” era
In their letter to DOD head Leon Panetta, the Senators asked for the creation of a process that would speed up the removal of the word “homosexual” from dishonorably discharged veterans’ paperwork, so that finding new work would be easier for them.
Here’s press-release sound bites from all three of the Senators. Gillibrand:
“We need to right wrongful discharges for our veterans immediately. Last fall, we ended the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy. Now it’s time to create an efficient way for veterans, who were discharged because of who they love, to receive clean, honorable discharge paperwork. Veterans that were discharged under DADT served our country courageously and with dignity and we need to give them the appropriate recognition immediately.”
“Although this harmful and wrongheaded policy has been repealed, it left behind a legacy of injustice that continues to discriminate against the gay and lesbian service members whom were discharged under it. By streamlining the process to correct these service members’ discharge documents, the Department of Defense can ensure that these courageous Americans move forward with dignity in their careers and private lives.”
“Even though we ended DADT last year, more than 14,000 veterans who were forced to leave the military because of their sexual orientation still have an unfair stigma hanging over them. Many of those veterans are now beginning the long process of correcting their discharge paperwork to ensure that their records reflect the quality of their service – not the discriminatory legacy that forced them from the military, weakening our national security in the process. Especially at a time of such high unemployment for our veterans, we should make it as easy as possible for them to maintain their personal privacy by making such corrections.”
Isn’t it nice to see your legislators actually doing something for once? Let’s hope Republicans don’t put up any unnecessary partisan bickering over this, because restoring honor to veterans is something I think all Americans can agree upon.
Click through to read the full letter sent by our fierce political allies in the Senate.