After two years of ACLU litigation the Pentagon has agreed to pay full separation pay to all service members involuntarily separated from the military after Nov. 10, 2004, because of their sexual orientation.
As the ACLU points out, if you serve six years in the military and are then discharged involuntarily, Congress says you’re entitled to separation pay to help ease your transition to civilian life. But the military had a policy - not required by any law - of cutting that separation pay in half if you’re discharged, even honorably, for “homosexuality.”
Under the terms of the agreement, service members covered by the lawsuit will be contacted by the government and notified that they are eligible for payments, the New York Times reports.
Even though black women comprise less than one percent of servicemembers, they represented 3.3 percent of all don’t ask, don’t tell discharges. Women in general appear to have been targeted under the policy. According to a 2010 Service Women’s Action Network report, women were 15 percent of the armed forces in 2008, but comprised 34 percent of the don’t ask, don’t tell discharges. People of color represented just under 30 percent of active duty personnel, but 45 percent of don’t ask, don’t tell discharges.
The Pentagon discharged more than 14,000 servicemembers under the policy between when it took effect in December 1993 and its official end in September 2011.