Congressman proposes to repeal dishonorable discharges given to gay veterans

Rep. Steve Israel (file/photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)Robert O. Hawkins Jr., 75, aspired to have a career in the military. But in 1962, when he was stationed in Florida, he received an ominous knock at his door. He was told that the military had proof that he is a homosexual, and that he could either resign his commission or face a court martial. Hawkins said. “I resigned. I had no choice, really. If I was able to continue, I probably would have been an admiral by now.”



Only recently was Hawkins able to get his discharge changed to honorable. Instead of following his dream of a military career, he ended up working as a teacher and associate dean at a college.

An estimated 100,000 gay and lesbian service members were issued dishonorable discharges between World War II and 1993 due to their sexual orientation, which denied them veteran’s benefits, including medical care and a military burial.

Recently, U.S. Rep. Steve Israel (D-N.Y.) announced legislation to repeal dishonorable discharges issued to gay service members, and to make sure those veterans get the recognition and benefits they deserve. Israel’s proposed legislation would change all those dishonorable discharges to honorable, allowing the veterans to receive medical and other benefits.

Under the more relaxed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, which allowed gays to serve as long as they kept their sexual orientation to themselves, about 14,000 troops were forced out, but most were given honorable discharges that allowed them to draw benefits.
Israel’s proposed legislation would change all those dishonorable discharges to honorable, allowing the veterans to receive medical and other benefits.

Are you or your spouse a veteran? Evan H. Farr is an Accredited Attorney with the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, who understands both the Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit and the Medicaid program and the interaction between both benefit programs.  If you are a Veteran who has been honorably discharged or the spouse of a Veteran and you need assistance, please meet with us.  We can work with you to evaluate whether you qualify for The Veterans Aid and Attendance Benefit and help you file the paperwork.  Veterans can take advantage of a special 15% discount at The Fairfax Veteran’s Elder Law Firm of Evan H. Farr, P.C.  Call us at 703-691-1888 to make an appointment for a no-cost consultation.



P.S. June is LGBT Pride Month! Join us for an event on Thursday, June 13, to educate the LGBT community about legal planning and enjoy some delicious refreshments!


Print Friendly, PDF & Email
About Evan H Farr, CELA, CAP

Evan H. Farr is a 4-time Best-Selling author in the field of Elder Law and Estate Planning. In addition to being one of approximately 500 Certified Elder Law Attorneys in the Country, Evan is one of approximately 100 members of the Council of Advanced Practitioners of the National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys and is a Charter Member of the Academy of Special Needs Planners.

Leave a comment

Thank you for your upload