ACLU Responds to President Biden’s Announcement Pardoning LGBTQ Service Members

June 27, 2024 9:00 am

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WASHINGTON – President Biden announced this week that he will pardon LGBTQ former service members convicted under now-repealed military laws prohibiting consensual sex. This decision will allow thousands of people to have full access to the benefits they had been denied because of their convictions and to clear their records of dishonorable discharge.

Biden’s announcement comes after decades of advocacy from LGBTQ service members, families, and advocates.

Deirdre Schifeling, the ACLU’s chief political and advocacy officer, had the following reaction to Biden’s announcement:

“We applaud President Biden’s decision to pardon thousands of LGBTQ former-service members. As the President himself acknowledged, this move is one step towards addressing the grave injustice of criminalizing the intimate relationships of LGBTQ people under laws successfully overturned by ACLU lawyers. Our country should never use the criminal legal system to persecute LGBTQ communities.”

“Clemency is one of the most powerful tools the President has to right some of our country’s most shameful wrongs. We encourage President Biden to push for transformational change to our criminal legal system and to use his power to remedy the systemic failures that have led to over-incarceration and communities that have been torn apart.”

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