West Hollywood News
WEST HOLLYWOOD—The city of
Representatives Mark Pocan (D-Wisc.) and Charlie Rangel (D-NY) introduced the bill, which aims to correct the records of gay and lesbian veterans who were dishonorably discharged due to their sexual orientation, before the 113th Congress on June 19.
Approximately 114,000 service members were dismissed prior to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2011. Though equal representation in the military is ongoing, the severity of the various types of discharge placed upon veterans are not to be accepted lightly, said the representatives. “As we celebrate the considerable progress we’ve made toward full equality in our military, we cannot forget about those who continue to suffer because of the discriminatory policies of our past,” said Pocan, co-chair of the Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus.
In their joint press release, the representatives vowed to commit to their bill. In addition to reviewing the records of service members discharged, the act also protects against future discrimination by erasing any indication of a service member's sexual orientation from the record.
A dishonorable discharge is treated as a felony in many states, and service members discharged can struggle to get civilian employment, cannot re-enlist, and may be denied access to voting, unemployment benefits, health care, disability and ceremonial burial rights at military cemeteries.
"As an American, a Congressman, and a Korean War Veteran, I was proud to join my colleagues in ending the discriminatory law that previously barred open gay and lesbian soldiers from serving their country,” said Rangel. “Now is the time to finish the job and ensure that all those who served honorably are recognized for their Honorable service regardless of their sexual orientation."
© Copyright 2007 by canyon-news.com