Veterans Day: Democrats Promote “Restore Honor” Bill To Correct Records Of Booted Gay Veterans

Sen. Brian Schatz, Rep. Charles Rangel, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand have written a Veteran’s Day column for USA Today in which they the promote the bill (introduced earlier this year) that would correct the records of gay veterans expelled for their homosexuality. They write:

Congress’s repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was a watershed moment that ended institutionalized discrimination unjustly targeting gay, lesbian and bisexual service members. Yet thousands of service members who were discharged because of their sexual orientation still bear the scars of that discrimination. We have introduced a bill called the “Restore Honor to Service Members Act” that would finally correct the record and properly honor our gay, lesbian and bisexual service members.

Since the Second World War, more than 100,000 service members are estimated to have been discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation, many with less-than-honorable discharges that have barred them from the benefits that they earned. Without a bill to protect these veterans, thousands of Americans who risked their lives to serve this country will continue to be denied access to the GI Bill and veterans’ health care, and they will have a more difficult time finding civilian employment.

Even those whose discharges were deemed “honorable” still face a high risk of discrimination. Many times, the reason for their discharge may indicate their sexual orientation, threatening their privacy when they share their paperwork with employers and landlords who may use that information to deny them a job or housing, either overtly or under a false pretense.

The bill currently has 38 co-sponsors in the Senate and 114 co-sponsors in the House. No Republicans have signed onto the Senate bill, four have in the House.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    It’s about fucking time. After more than a decade of honorable service my better half was thrown out of the military for being gay. This needs to be corrected and these selfless, proud, honorable service women and men need to have their dignity restored and their service honored.

    • Prion

      • Mary Marshall

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        • MDB

          FLAGGED ❦.❦.❦.

  • Blake Jordan

    Haven’t the rethuglicans already f-ed over LGBT veterans, to do with spousal benefits, etcetera, what are the chances they will do the right thing now…

  • Ninja0980

    Nice gesture but as with everything else, it won’t go anywhere with Republicans in charge.
    And to those Republicans in the Senate and House who have served… fuck you for spitting in the face of your fellow Veterans, you’re a disgrace to the uniform you wore.

    • Exactly but unfortunately they get away with it because this isn’t made into big enough of an issue. Any GOP politician who posts anything about veterans day without supporting this needs to be called out on it.

      • Ninja0980

        The GOP fucks over veterans in so many ways yet they are looked at as the pro-troop party.
        It’s a joke, it truly is.

    • NancyP

      It might not go anywhere, but it would put Republicans on record as voting against veterans’ interests.

    • Prion

      ,,..,,

    • John30013

      Of course one problem is precisely that so few of our representatives in congress *have* served. They find it so easy to send us into battle, but so hard to take care of us after we get home…

      • GC

        Maybe congresscritters should be required, in order to take office or be reelected, to have a son or daughter in the armed forces, serving on the front lines, no special protections or privileges….

  • Richard

    With the congress being controlled by the bat shit crazy republicans passage of this bill is practically nil. Voting matters and as long as republicans control the congress this injustice will sadly not be corrected.

    • GC

      But the two major parties are “exactly the same”! No matter who we vote for, the oligarchs win! /s (History has shown and will show that that’s incorrect. Voting matters. Also, and importantly, for determining who gets to nominate Supreme Court justices and other federal judges!)

      • Ninja0980

        Indeed, out of the more then 20 Democratic judges who heard marriage cases on the federal level, only one ruled against us compared to more then 13 for Republicans.

      • Richard

        You are totally wrong !

        The two major parties are NOT “exactly the same”. No freaking way ! Republicans would like people like yourself to think they are the same, but history shows they couldn’t be further apart especially on gay rights issues, women’s rights issues, veteran’s issues, etc. It’s the Republicans who are the supporters of big corporations and the Oligarchs ……. Not the Democrats….. Do some research!

        • GC

          I’ll put the entire snark in quotation marks to make it clearer.

          We agree! Within my entire period of political awareness, the Republicans have always been on the wrong side of civil rights and civil liberties issues. While Democrats too are influenced by corporations and oligarchs, they are much more likely than Republicans to side with real citizens, real people.

    • Mark Slade

      Having them on record as voting against this bill is not nearly as wonderful a thing as having it pass, but it ain’t nothing.

  • bkmn

    One more thing that will have to wait until the Democrats take back control of both the Senate and the House. Vote people!

  • Here’s a thought for Veteran’s Day. How about not throwing a tantrum about a coffee cup and then calling it a “war” on your beliefs?

    • Treg Brown

      But then where’s the seasonal butthurt?? It just wouldn’t be babbyjesuschristmas without conservative butthurt.
      #allholidaysmatter

      • GC

        If they’re butthurt, they’re doing it wrong.

      • I posted a butthurt form for the troll with us in this comment.

    • MickinDetroit

      and sanctioning sodomites in the military woiuld be something other than a war on their beliefs?

      • Please put the completed form in the “Butthurt” box on the way out.

        http://s5.postimg.org/8kltuttyf/butthurt_form.jpg

      • How many years of military service did you perform?

        • MickinDetroit

          5. USMC active duty. of course then there was 4 in the IRR…but does anyone count that for anything?

      • Todd20036

        Who someone fucks gas to do with military service, how exactly?

        • MickinDetroit

          Well, nothing when it’s not a thing that get’s you thrown out. Back when it could…it’d be a big deal as a blackmail tool. Which was one of the more lame justifications for the ban in the first place. Gay guys are a security risk because they’ll be blackmailed…..no one apparently thought; ” hey, what if we just didn’t make such a big deal about teh ghey in the first place?”

      • MDB

        I’m sure you have no problem with LGBT servicemen and women DYING to protect the freedoms YOU enjoy !?!!? Sanction your fucking sanctimonious whining somewhere else you homophobic piece of shit !!!

        • MickinDetroit

          lighten up francis, it was sarcasm

          • GC

            Poe’s Law: it’s sometimes hard to tell sarcasm from sincerely held crap. “Sanctioning sodomites” is exactly the sort of language homophobes would use.

    • MickinDetroit

      holy shit… could I have been anymore obvious with the sarcasm? You posted about not throwing a tantrum over war on xmas on a post about rectifying decades of wrongs regarding gays in the military. the point was I don’t think the war on xmas’ers would be any less outraged.

      • Your sarcasm sucks. I wasn’t the only one who thought you were trolling.

        • MickinDetroit

          Jesus, take your butthurt form and fill it out.

          • Calm down, Mary and have a drink. It happens. Let’s laugh it off.

          • MickinDetroit

            drinking my free starbucks as we speak!

          • What name did you use on the cup?

          • MickinDetroit

            #HappyKwanzaa.

            actually, nothing. it’s my regular place. the kid knows me.

          • I usually give “Ron” my name. I usually get “Juan” in return. I don’t mumble, but I look Latino. Now I give “Juan” and then I get “Ron” – go figure.

          • JIM W

            Same here. They never ask my name any more.

  • This is an incredibly simple thing to do and there is zero reason not to do it save naked anti-gay animus. Big thanks to those who are pushing this and I would love to see the media go after the GOP more on this.

    • Chucktech

      Seems like there’s a lot of these simple things that don’t get done these days. Expanding Medicaid in red states is an incredibly simple thing to do and there is zero reason not to do it save naked anti-Obama animus. Anti-gay animus, anti-Obama animus, Republican fueled animus.

    • Joe in PA

      What Chuck said.

  • saucetin

    I’m hoping to find the names of the four (R) who’ve risked a bit by signing on. Anyone have that 411 handy? This is WAY effing overdue.

    • KT

      Without even looking, I know Ileana Ros-Lehtinen is one. She is almost always the sole or one of the few GOP to sign onto LGBT bills. I imagine Mark Hanna is another. He has recently become more pro-LGBT.

      • Ninja0980

        Richard Hanna is his name and yes he has.
        Truly one of the last liberal Republicans left.

      • MickinDetroit

        Kirk might have been one…former military, rumored to be gay. one of the few Rs to vote to repeal DADT

      • JCF

        Her son is Trans.

    • ColdCountry

      I could only find three – the two KT mentioned, plus Curbelo of FL.

  • Circ09

    Kirsten has been working hard since entering the Senate to change her image to a progressive. I know that was needed to position herself opposite Schumer and represent more than her conservative corner of the State. But it seems more to me like she wants to go the distance. Hillary Clinton is (nominally) from New York. 2 NY Senators in a row for the Presidency?

    • Ninja0980

      A lot of people thought she was more liberal then she let on but she had to hide it due to where she was from (Alabama of the North.)

  • Galvestonian

    I was booted out during the Viet-Nam War and just the discharge processing was pure torture – nothing short of hell with scenarios that encouraged us to ‘commit suicide’ and remarks that ensured us that we would never be able to hold any kind of job again and that we were worthless, useless and a detriment to society. We were forced to do extremely menial work – cleansing dumpsters with toothbrushes in 90 degree heat and policing gravel parking lots on our knees until we bled. We were marched single file in ‘POW’ WWII era Army herringbone body suits with guards everywhere we went and subjected to constant verbal abuse, Our barracks was of a WWII vintage and was two stories. The first floor was where violent military offernders awaiting court marshal and discharge were kept. We were on the second floor and nights were a particular horror where sobs, denials, cries and weeping were common. Many of those confined were career military (Navy & Marines) some with as many as 18 years in service. At one point I was placed in a MOTU unit (they made films and training videos for the military) and I was left to sleep in a large film studio with another male member of the military for (what I later found out) was entrapment of a sexual nature. I disapointed them in that I refused to take the ‘bait’ – he just wasn’t my type. I believe that after discharge that I must’ve suffered some type of trauma as I refused to leave my family home – kept to a dark basement for nearly 8 months burning pounds of incense and listening to Japanese kyto music and messing with watercolors. Finally my dad came to me with the address of 3 gay bars and $50. and told me to get the hell out into the world. He told me I was certified ‘gay’ by the U.S. Government and I might as well get used to it.
    What I want to know is will this ‘bill’ restore the medals and honors stripped from all of us ? Does anyone know ?

    • hudson11

      fucking barbarism. There ought to be a way of levelling a class action suit against the military for the torment they put you and so many others through.

    • First, thank you for your service. I’m sorry that you had to endure that. I appreciate that you shared something so personal with us.

    • Jimmie Z

      In celebration of Veteran’s Day, I want to thank you for your service to our great nation.

      I have never heard a horror story such as this. It needs to be fully expanded and thoroughly investigated, and written into the records. You and others have been wronged.

    • GayOldLady

      Galvestonian, I honor your service and I hope that your service and your sacrifices are honored by the Armed Forces and that you will get the benefits and apologies you deserve. I will write my Senators and Congressional Members in support of this “bill” and I hope every one in our community does the same. You need to tell your story and tell it to your Congressional Reps. Let your long silenced voice BE HEARD!!!

      • TuuxKabin

        gawd GOL I love you.

        • StraightGrandmother

          We all do.

      • JIM W

        Great idea for Galveston to tell his story. All who have similar stories should put them down on paper and mail, not e-mail, them to their congress reps. also send a copy to Sen. Brian Schatz, Rep. Charles Rangel, and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand

    • I’ve checked several refrecens, but there is no mention the bill will restore medals and honors. It seems it would restore our DD 214 to honorable discharge status, remove any mention of “aggravating circumstances”

      http://www.stripes.com/senate-bill-would-provide-clean-service-records-for-discharged-gay-lesbian-troops-1.267291

      • Marla R. Stevens

        Restoration to honorable status might restore the medals/honors taken away because of less than honorable statuses. I don’t know but I imagine Michele Benecke would know or be able to find out.

        • I know my medals are listed on my DD214. I would imagine the first step would be to contact the DOD or Dept Vet Affairs and start there. Or contact a local sen/rep and let them explore it.

    • Joe in PA

      Wow, what a horrendous story, I’m sorry you had to endure that.

    • The Milkman

      Thank you for your service to our country. What a terrible story… a shame on America that hopefully will never happen again, thanks to vets like you telling your stories.

    • Wynter Marie Starr

      Thank you for serving. And this is something I’ve never heard of and it’s a story that absolutely needs to be told. Every American should know what bigotry has cost those who protected them and their precious freedoms.

    • ArchiLaw

      Galvestonian, you have added meaning to Veteran’s Day for me. Thank you for sharing such a painful story with us. You do not say what happened in the years since your dad stepped in, but I hope the years have turned better and that you’ve had a happy life.

    • anne marie in philly

      I salute you, sir. vietnam was bad enough without all this other bullshit. you DESERVE something more than a medal! thank you for sharing.

    • Bj Lincoln

      I feel so sorry. My heart breaks for you and all the men and women who had to suffer like this. Thank you for sharing this personal story. This is why we need this bill

    • Ninja0980

      Thank you for your service and I’m sorry for what you endured.

    • Prion

      ,.,

    • StraightGrandmother

      Damn your life story ripped my heart wide open.
      Jesus Christ I am SO F-ING GLAD that things are better now after the repeal of DADT.
      (and would that repeal have happened under a Republican Commander & Chief?)
      You’ll never get that time back. Those 8 months in a basement, but I hope to hell you didn’t let it ruin your life.

      It obviously took a big chunk out of your life, but hopefully you moved past it. I hope anyway.
      Vietnam was a long time ago.

    • JIM W

      Thanks for telling your story and thank you for your service. I have no ideal how this bill, if ever passed, will help anyone who was discharged for being homosexual. All those who were discharged, will probably have to go through an appeals process of some kind. You are probably about my age. I knew several sailors who were put in prison at Leavenworth before they were discharged. Nothing can repay the humiliation and degredation all of you went through. I managed to escape detection, but my heart goes out to those who weren’t as fortunate as I. We were all just wanting to serve our country. We all did it with honor. It was the military that was dishonorable in they way they treated so many.

  • Jan Wesselius

    I am a gay veteran. In during the Vietnam war era, I had to hide my sexuality. What was so wrong about gays loving their country anyway?

    • Anything that humanizes us goes against the agenda of dehumanization of gay people.

    • Treg Brown

      I’m in awe of you sir. Thank you for your service to our country, especially under those circumstances.

    • Octavio

      Me, too. But I didn’t hide my sexuality. My COs just refused to acknowledge it. I always wondered why so many of my colleagues and military overlords were unruffled by my sexual preferences and why they often had similar proclivities. In the 60s and 70s one didn’t have to leave the Presidio to get one’s rocks off. And I new several COs in Vietnam who preferred the company of “comfort boys” instead of the usual pickings at the many out-of-door brothels. I have nothing but major sympathy for those men and women who were destroyed by the madness of the US Military. But that also extends to anyone who has been maimed/killed while in the service and those still unable to get their lives sorted out after the experience gay or straight. Being in the military tends to fuck one up, regardless of one’s point of view. 🙁

      • Jan Wesselius

        I did my duty for my country, for that I am proud to have served, but your right, the military does fuck one up.

  • Octavio

    “No Republicans have signed onto the Senate bill . . .” well, of course. Would don’t expect anything from “The Republicans” since they are a pack of card-carrying assholes. It’s a requirement for becoming a Republican.

    • TuuxKabin

      good to ‘read from you’. missed you. welcome back.

      • Octavio

        Was I missing? Where’d I go? The little grays said it was only a three-hour tour. I woke up this morning covered in coconut pie. ????

        • TuuxKabin

          trusting el squeeze licked you clean then? serious? haven’t seen a word from you for a long time, daze at least. saludos.

          • Octavio

            Gracias por haber notado usted. Fuimos a Canadá y nos quedamos con amigos durante cinco días. A su buena salud, también.

  • I got a retweet from the local CBS affiliate in SW Virginia. LOL I can hardly wait for the Old South Bible Bangers who follow that account to start reading my twitter time line!

    https://twitter.com/ThirtyBirdy/status/664497014332243968

    • TuuxKabin

      I’m missing something here . . . I googled Meli Goana . . . nothingk. Sooooo, is the photo of the dude with the sparkling belt buckle Meli Goana before transitioning? Is the belt buckle the one that broke Dr. Stabby’s blade? Waz up?

      • Hilar. Click on the “pic.twitter” link in the tweet to see the entire tweet. It’s a live link. It should open here as long as the tweet is still posted.

        • TuuxKabin

          got it. thanks! i’m so glad you’re gonna be el presidente!

          • Well, maybe not. I’m embroiled in a scandal at the moment.

          • OH? Did the tryouts for the go-go dancers go horribly awry?

  • Bob Conti

    Take a look at the source article in USA Today, some of the comments are vile.

    • No thank you. I hate swimming in filth, those silkwood showers really take a toll on my water bill.

  • MattM

    Wait, you’re telling me Republicans aren’t the ones who came up with this? But I thought both parties are the same!

    • Bj Lincoln

      They won’t sign it because the government will have to spend more money giving them what they earned.

      • customartist

        Can’t have THAT shit

  • A note to our youngsters and the underinformed:

    The tombstone above belongs to Leonard Matovich Jr.

    You can read about him here: http://www.leonardmatlovich.com/

    That’s a hero!

    • SockMikey

      Mark,

      I just posted a snapshot from a website I used to maintain about the BSA (he was and Eagle Scout) and a little background including his panel from the quilt.

      Mike

  • Mark

    Right there on my DD-214 it says “HOMOSEXUAL ACTS” – all in caps. And I have to say my separation was probably a whole lot different than others.

    I was kinda highly visible on base as I did the DJ routine to earn a bit of extra money. I had all my own equipment – thanks to the CO getting it on a plane. In gratitude, there was never any charge for events at the Officer’s Club.

    I and my first met while we were enlisted. After my declaration, I was ordered to report to the CO’s office every Wednesday at 12 noon. The BF was out in a matter of weeks – but because the Navy screwed up my paperwork, it took well over 6 months to be processed out. In that time, the CO and I continued those one hour talks. For me, it was scary as hell. For him, it was a learning and understanding experience. He was never rude, or demeaning. And because all of the upper brass were aware of the meeting – I was never hassled in any way.

    At the last meeting, he thanked me. What no one knew is that he was pretty certain that one of his three sons was going to be gay. I was processed out with an honorable discharge and full benefits.

    Would it be nice to have the ‘reason’ expunged from the record? Yes. Yet, anytime I look at that form – I can’t help but remember how one man made a difference.

  • SockMikey

    Sgt. Leonard P. Matlovich, USAF
    (Gravestone shown in posted story)

    He was also an Eagle Scout in the Boy Scouts of America.
    .

  • JIM W

    How can they possibly make up for the imprisonment in Leavenworth Military Disciplinary Barracks before they were dishonorably discharged. I am a Navy Veteran and I had several friends that were “found out”, arrested, court marshaled and thrown in prison. I have no ideal how long they must have served, before they were dishonorably discharged, I think about these men a lot and wonder whatever became of them. I was one of the lucky ones who served and managed to not be “found out”.

    • WildwoodGuy

      Congratulations to you on both counts! For serving (thank you very much!) and for not being found out. I could never have done what you did. I appreciate your service more than you can imagine. And I’m teary-eyed thinking about your friends. I, too, wonder whatever happened to them.

    • customartist

      How can eyeroll make up? The can’t. So they just ride out the clock until people forget.
      Republicans.

  • sach2

    i don’t know if it is real but that is the best tombstone I have ever seen.

  • Mary Marshall

    .❝my neighbor’s mom is making $98 HOURLY on the internet❞….A few days ago new McLaren F1 subsequent after earning 18,512$,,,this was my previous month’s paycheck ,and-a little over, $17k Last month ..3-5 h/r of work a day ..with extra open doors & weekly paychecks.. it’s realy the easiest work I have ever Do.. I Joined This 7 months ago and now making over $87, p/h..Learn More right Here….
    iv..
    ➤➤
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  • customartist

    My neighbor, whom I admire and love otherwise, keeps on trying to get me to vote Republican. Sigh.