Discharged Gay Service Members to Get Full Separation Pay
BY Trudy Ring
January 07 2013 5:35 PM ET
Military personnel who had their separation pay cut in half after being discharged for being gay will receive their full pay under a legal settlement announced today.
The settlement comes in Collins v. United States, a class action suit brought by the American Civil Liberties Union and its New Mexico affiliate. It is named for lead plaintiff Richard Collins, who was honorably discharged from the Air Force after being observed kissing his boyfriend but saw his separation pay cut because his discharge was for homosexuality.
“There was absolutely no need to subject these service members to a double dose of discrimination by removing them from the armed forces in the first place, and then denying them this small benefit to ease the transition to civilian life,” said Laura Schauer Ives, managing attorney for the ACLU of New Mexico, in a press release. “This decision represents a long-delayed justice to these veterans.”
The pay reduction was a Defense Department policy and not part of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, so it did not change when the law was repealed, ACLU officials noted.
The settlement covers personnel who were discharged on or after November 10, 2004, as far back as it could extend under the applicable statute of limitations. The total amount of pay owed to these service members is about $2.4 million, which “is small by military standards, but is hugely significant in acknowledging their service to their country,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney for the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project.”
Under the settlement, the federal government will contact all service members covered by the suit and notify them that they are eligible to opt in to the settlement and receive 100% of the separation pay that they would have received had they been discharged for any other honorable reason. Federal law entitles service members to separation pay if they have been involuntarily and honorably discharged from the military after completing at least six years of service.
- Gay Man Gunned Down in NYC Street, Dies
- Florida Teen Arrested, Expelled for Same-Sex Relationship
- Photos: Cuba Libre
- Porn Star Wilfried Knight Commits Suicide After Long Battle With Immigration
- WATCH: Today's Tearjerker Featuring Binational Couple With 'Missing Husband'
- Vive la France! Hollande Signs Marriage Equality Bill
Sign Up For Email Updates
- Crime Gay Man Gunned Down in NYC Street, Dies UPDATED: May 18 2013 7:24 PM
- Youth Florida Teen Arrested, Expelled for Same-Sex Relationship May 18 2013 6:58 PM
- Media Legendary Gay Gossip Columnist Michael Musto Responds to Being Laid Off May 18 2013 3:21 PM
- Marriage Equality Vive la France! Hollande Signs Marriage Equality Bill May 18 2013 12:20 PM
- Photography Photos: Cuba Libre May 18 2013 5:29 AM
- Television These 20 Sexy Pics of Stephen Amell Will Hit Your Bullseye May 17 2013 9:00 PM
- Politics Portugal Approves Adoption Rights for Same-Sex Spouses May 17 2013 8:32 PM