Bill to upgrade records of those discharged for sexual orientation
Stars and Stripes
By Matthew M. Burke
Published: June 21, 2013
A bill circulating in the House would upgrade the service records of gay, lesbian and bisexual troops who were discharged due to sexual orientation and eventually open the door to veterans’ benefits.
The Restore Honor to Service Members Act was proposed Thursday by Rep. Charlie Rangel, D-N.Y., and Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Wis., according to a joint statement from their offices. The congressmen are trying to muster co-sponsors before bringing it to committee in hopes of a floor vote.
From World War II to the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” roughly 114,000 servicemembers were discharged because of sexual orientation, the statement said. In many cases, depending on the discharge classification and the state in which they lived, they could be treated as felons and precluded from voting and collecting unemployment and veterans’ benefits, such as health care and disability.
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