Daylife/AP PHoto used by permission
The policy is gone, but the lawsuits continue. Two days after the end of “don’t ask, don’t tell“, lawyers from the American Civil Liberties Union were in United States Court of Federal Claims in Washington Thursday arguing on behalf of service members who say they received only half their separation pay when they were discharged for their sexuality.
The lead plaintiff is a former Air Force staff sergeant, Richard Collins, who served nine years before two civilian co-workers observed him exchanging a kiss with his civilian boyfriend and reported it to his superiors. When he received an honorable discharge under “don’t ask, don’t tell,” his separation pay was half what it should have been…
According to a statement by the A.C.L.U., “Federal law entitles service members to separation pay if they have been involuntarily discharged from the military after completing at least six years of service. But in 1991, the Defense Department adopted an internal policy that automatically cuts a former service member’s separation pay in half if the service member is discharged because of ‘homosexuality.’”
The A.C.L.U. said that the half-pay policy was enacted before “don’t ask, don’t tell” was passed, and so was not changed when that law was repealed. The group said the Defense Department can change the policy on its own, without congressional approval.
The government has asked the court to dismiss the case…proving once again that the Pentagon not only doesn’t give a damn about the Constitution it is supposed to be fighting for – our military executives couldn’t care less about the rights of members of the armed forces who have served loyally and diligently.
Beancounters are the same everywhere. Saving a buck while screwing individuals is OK in their book.