Conservatives Blast Pentagon Deal to Give Full Pay to Homosexuals Booted from Military
(CNSNews.com) – Conservatives are blasting a deal reached by the American Civil Liberties Union and the Obama administration to give full separation pay to more than 180 service members discharged from the military for homosexuality since 2004.
Bob Knight, a senior fellow at the conservative American Civil Rights Union, said the settlement and payment was political pay back to homosexual activists.
“This is yet another payback to an Obama constituency,” Knight told CNSNews.com. “It ignores the intent of the law, and the law itself.”
On Monday, the administration reached a settlement with the ACLU on a class-action lawsuit by agreeing to pay approximately $2.4 million in full separation pay – money that was withheld from those veterans who were tossed out of the service for violating the then-existing law against military service by homosexuals.
“It makes no sense to continue to penalize service members who were discharged under a discriminatory statute that has already been repealed,” said Joshua Block, staff attorney for the ACLU Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Project.
According to Block, the settlement covers service members who were discharged on or after Nov. 10, 2004, which he said was “as far back as the settlement could extend under the applicable statute of limitations.”
“The amount of the pay owed to these veterans is small by military standards, but is hugely significant in acknowledging their service to their country,” he said.
But Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, told CNSNews.com that the government is catering to homosexual activists with the settlement.
“The bottom line is, the administration wanted this to happen. If they didn’t it probably wouldn’t have happened," she said.
The conservative analysts say that service members who engaged in homosexuality while in the military don’t deserve extra pay, because they did more than run afoul of Defense Department administrative regulations -- they .violated a federal law that made homosexuality in the military illegal.
Under military policy, service members who are administratively discharged typically are given honorable discharges and are eligible for full separation pay.
According to the ACLU, the plaintiffs were separated from the services under President Clinton’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” rule, and received honorable discharges.
The lead plaintiff in the case, Richard Collins, was a former staff sergeant in the Air Force who, according to an ACLU news release, “served for nine years until he was discharged under ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’” because he was spotted off-base in New Mexico “kissing his boyfriend.”
But Donnelly told CNSNews.com that homosexuality in the military was never just an administrative issue. In 1993, Congress passed a federal law making it illegal --Section 654 of Subtitle G of Title 10 of the U.S. Code.
“The law was very clear – it said that homosexuals were not eligible to serve in the armed forces. It essentially codified the regulations that had been in place long before Bill Clinton ever took office,” Donnelly said.
Though President Clinton signed the ’93 law, he subsequently adopted his own administrative policy on homosexuality in the military, dubbed “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.”
But “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was never the law of the land, Donnelly said.
“‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’ said – contrary to the law – that you could serve in the military as long as you didn’t say you were homosexual, as long as you didn’t say that you were engaged in acts that define homosexuality,” she added.
It wasn't until 2010, when a lame-duck Congress actually repealed the law, that the ban on homosexuality in the military was removed.
Even now, Donnelly noted, Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, the legal code which governs the military, still technically makes it a crime for military personnel to engage in sodomy -- oral or anal sex -- with either a male or a female.
It states: “(a) Any person subject to this chapter who engages in unnatural carnal copulation with another person of the same or opposite sex or with an animal is guilty of sodomy. Penetration, however slight, is sufficient to complete the offense. (b) Any person found guilty of sodomy shall by punished as a court-martial may direct.”
These days, however, Article 125 is seldom being enforced in the military.
“This is an obvious contradiction, and the Pentagon is getting around it by saying that it will enforce cases only if it involves violence or abuse of any kind,” Donnelly said.
Donnelly also said that since the 2010 repeal, the Pentagon has been “pretty much out of control” when it comes to LGBT (lesbians/gay/bisexual/transgender) issues.
“They are pandering to the LGBT left,” Donnelly said. “And the LGBT Left wants the new nominee for Secretary of Defense to toe the line with them. They expect the new nominee to carry out everything that they demand in the name of LGBT law in the military.”