This isn't even separate but equal. It's separate and unequal.
I'll let the ACLU describe the hideous position the Pentagon - that would be Barack Obama's Pentagon - just reiterated today:
Congress made a judgment that military personnel who serve their country for at least six years and are honorably discharged should get separation pay. The Department of Defense decided to cut that separation pay in half for any service member who is discharged for "homosexuality." The ACLU has filed a class action lawsuit challenging that discriminatory internal policy of the Department of Defense as unconstitutional. The separation-pay policy is not part of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Department can change it immediately without waiting for congressional approval.How hard is it for someone in the White House to stand up and run this country? President Obama is commander in chief. He has the power to change this bigoted policy. And for some reason, he won't. And coming on the news that Dan Choi and other gay vets are basically being fined for their own discharges, you really have to ask yourself what is wrong with this administration?
The lead plaintiff in the case is Richard Collins, a decorated former staff-sergeant in the U.S. Air Force who served for nine years until he was discharged from service under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy. Mr. Collins's superiors learned that he is gay when two civilian co-workers observed him exchange a kiss with his civilian boyfriend. Mr. Collins received an honorable discharge from the Air Force but discovered after the discharge had been completed that his separation pay had been cut in half on the grounds of "homosexuality."
Please sign our letter to Secretary Gates demanding that he stop punishing DADT veterans.
More from the ACLU today:
The Department of Defense (DOD) today issued a memo stating that it will not offer any type of compensation, including full separation pay, for any service members discharged under the discriminatory Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Under DOD policy, anyone discharged for being gay has been only entitled to half of the sum paid to other honorably discharged service members to ease their transition into civilian life. The American Civil Liberties Union and the ACLU of New Mexico filed a lawsuit in November seeking full compensation for those discharged under the policy over the past six years.
The following can be attributed to Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project:
"We are disappointed that the Department of Defense has stated that it will not provide full separation pay to service members who were unconstitutionally separated from the military under the soon-to-be repealed Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. A study conducted by the Defense Department itself established beyond a doubt that the policy was not only unfair, but also unnecessary. The least that the government can do is make the victims of this discriminatory policy whole. Service members who have been unconstitutionally discharged because of Don't Ask, Don't Tell should receive the separation pay to which they are entitled."
The following can be attributed to Laura Ives, staff attorney with the ACLU of New Mexico:
"It is hard to imagine what possible justification the government could present for continuing to withhold full separation pay benefits from anyone dismissed from the armed forces due to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The government must do the right thing and pay these men and women who have served our country honorably the full separation pay they deserve."