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RELEASE: The Battles that Remain for LGBT Equality in the Military

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Contact: Anne Shoup
Phone: 202.481.7146
Email: ashoup@americanprogress.org

Washington, D.C. — Today, on the two-year anniversary of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the discriminatory policy that prevented LGBT service members from serving openly, the Center for American Progress released a report offering recommendations for the military to achieve full equality for its LGBT service members. Even though sexual orientation is no longer grounds for dismal from the military, and the federal government—including the Department of Defense—now recognizes same-sex spouses for the purpose of federal benefits, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Supreme Court’s decision striking down Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act do not mean the end of discrimination for the LGBT Americans who serve in our nation’s military.

“Two years ago today marked the first time in American history when gay, lesbian, and bisexual members of our military could serve openly and with integrity,” said Laura E. Durso, Director of the LGBT Research and Communications Project at the Center for American Progress. “We should take today not only to remind ourselves how far we have come in the march toward full equality in the military, but also to rededicate ourselves to supporting and providing for every brave man and woman who wears the uniform, LGBT or not. There’s still more work to do, and we owe all our service members the resolve to see it through.”

The report offers the following recommendations to end discrimination for LGBT service members:

  • Congress should pass the Charlie Morgan Military Spouses Equal Treatment Act to expand federal benefits to all legally married same-sex spouses of service members and veterans regardless of the state in which they live.
  • Congress should pass the Restore Honor to Service Members Act to streamline and expedite the process of upgrading Less than Honorable and Other than Honorable discharges based on sexual orientation.
  • Congress should remove consensual sodomy as an offense.
  • President Barack Obama should sign an executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation in the U.S. armed forces.
  • The Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs should revisit medical regulations pertaining to veterans’ health, HIV criminalization, and transgender service.

Read the full analysis: The Battles that Remain: Military Service and LGBT Equality by Katie Miller and Andrew Cray

For more information, contact Anne Shoup at ashoup@americanprogress.org or 202.481.7146.

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