To: President Donald Trump
Upgrade LGBT Veterans’ Discharges Now!
President Obama – We demand you issue an Executive Order today to upgrade the discharges of 100,000+ gay and lesbian veterans who served their country honorably.
Why is this important?
President Obama has the authority to direct the Department of Defense to automatically upgrade the less-than-honorable discharges to Honorable Discharges for gay and lesbian veterans who were kicked out solely because they were guilty of being homosexuals. This presidential option is no different than when President Jimmy Carter on his first day in office on 1/21/1977, issued an Executive Order granting unconditional pardons to hundreds of thousands of men who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War.
Over 100,000 veterans who served honorably received less-than-honorable discharges simply for being gay or lesbian. Title 10 USC §1553 Current rules requires that each such veteran apply individually to a Discharge Review Board, or a Board of Correction of Military Records, to right this wrong. Most of these requests are denied because the boards presume the correctness of the original discharge and place the burden of proving otherwise on the individual veteran making it a costly and multi-year long process.
Veterans’ less-than-honorable discharges become “scarlet letters”, barring them from veterans’ benefits, costing them government and other jobs, leaving many to grapple with shame for decades.
Since “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed, Congress has refused to act on the proposed “Restore Honor to Service Members Act” that would grant upgrades to veterans discharged solely for being gay. So, we need President Obama to issue an Executive Order to upgrade those discharges now!