Defense Department Says It Will Deny Full Separation Pay For Gay And Lesbian Service Members Honorably Discharged Under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell”

January 29, 2011

Ongoing ACLU Lawsuit Challenges Discriminatory Policy

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: (212) 549-2666; media@aclu.org

NEW YORK– The Department of Defense (DOD) today issued a memo stating that it will not offer any type of compensation, including full separation pay, for any service members discharged under the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. Under DOD policy, anyone discharged for being gay has been only entitled to half of the sum paid to other honorably discharged service members to ease their transition into civilian life. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of New Mexico filed a lawsuit in November seeking full compensation for those discharged under the policy over the past six years.

The following can be attributed to Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project:

“We are disappointed that the Department of Defense has stated that it will not provide full separation pay to service members who were unconstitutionally separated from the military under the soon-to-be repealed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy. A study conducted by the Defense Department itself established beyond a doubt that the policy was not only unfair, but also unnecessary. The least that the government can do is make the victims of this discriminatory policy whole. Service members who have been unconstitutionally discharged because of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ should receive the separation pay to which they are entitled.”

The following can be attributed to Laura Ives, staff attorney with the ACLU of New Mexico:

“It is hard to imagine what possible justification the government could present for continuing to withhold full separation pay benefits from anyone dismissed from the armed forces due to ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ The government must do the right thing and pay these men and women who have served our country honorably the full separation pay they deserve.”

For more information on the ACLU’s case, please visit: www.aclu.org/lgbt-rights/collins-v-united-states-class-action-military-separation-pay


 

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