This decision represents a long-delayed justice to these veterans.
Separation pay, which the armed forces are required to pay US military personnel who have completed at least 6 years of service and have been involuntarily but honorably discharged, will now be available in its entirety to those members discharged on or after November, 10, 2004, for being gay. Advocate.com reports this historic settlement came about due to a class action suit, Collins v. United States which was filed by the ACLU on behalf of Richard Collins who was honorably discharged from the US Air Force after 9 years of service when it was discovered that he was gay. To add insult to injury, Collins separation pay was cut in half.
This pay reduction, which is a policy of the Defense Department and was not affected by the repeal of the “don’t ask don’t tell” law, was applied to any member of the military who was discharged specifically for being homosexual. The managing attorney for the ACLU of New Mexico, Laura Schauer Ives said,
There was absolutely no need to subject these service members to a double dose of discrimination by removing them from the armed forces in the first place, and then denying them this small benefit to ease the transition to civilian life.
Under this settlement, any military personnel who were discharged for being gay and saw a reduction in their separation pay are qualified to receive all of the money they would have received if they had been honorably discharged for any reason other than being homosexual.