Thursday, July 25, 2024
HomeUSBiden expected to pardon military veterans convicted under military law banning gay...

Biden expected to pardon military veterans convicted under military law banning gay sex, officials say

CNN —
President Joe Biden is expected to pardon US veterans who were convicted by the military over a 60-year period under a military law that banned gay sex, three US officials told CNN.
The pardon proclamation is expected to be announced on Wednesday and one official said it is set to affect roughly 2,000 people. The granting of pardons won’t automatically change convicted veterans’ records but allows those impacted to apply for a certificate of pardon that will help them receive withheld benefts.
The pardon, which CNN is first to report on, specifically grants clemency to service members who were convicted under former Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 125 — which criminalized sodomy, including between consenting adults — between 1951 and 2013 when it was rewritten by Congress. It also applies to those who were convicted of attempting to commit those offenses.
Anyone who was convicted of a non-consensual act such as rape will not be pardoned.
The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Separately, the law known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was repealed by Congress in 2011, but not before thousands of service members had been discharged from the military.
A service member’s discharge status can determine what kind of Veterans Affairs benefits they are eligible for. A bad-conduct discharge, for example, given under general court-martial, can make someone ineligible for services including a VA home loan military pension, and education benefits.
The pardon is separate from the Pentagon’s ongoing review of military records for those who were discharged based on their sexual orientation, which one of the officials said did not apply to convictions under the UCMJ. The Pentagon launched a new outreach campaign last September to reach more veterans who believe they “suffered an error or injustice” to have their military records reviewed.
“For decades, our LGBTQ+ service members were forced to hide or were prevented from serving altogether,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at the time. “Even still, they selflessly put themselves in harm’s way for the good of our country and the American people.”
In order to get their records changed under the pardon, individuals will need to complete an online application, which will go to their military service department. The services will then review the individual’s court-martial and service record and determine if they are eligible for the pardon; that determination will then be sent to the attorney general, a US official explained.
The certificate of pardon does not automatically change someone’s discharge status. If a certificate of pardon is issued, the service member will then have to apply to their respective military department’s board of corrections to have their military records corrected.

RELATED ARTICLES

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular

Recent Comments

Translate »
×