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Biden to issue pardons over gay sex ban – media

The US president has reportedly decided to grant clemency to ex-soldiers who were prosecuted under previous military law

US President Joe Biden has reportedly decided to pardon military veterans who were convicted over decades past under a sodomy law that criminalized gay sex among service members.

The pardon proclamation, which will grant clemency to about 2,000 former troops, is expected to be announced on Wednesday, CNN reported, citing three unnamed US government officials. The proclamation will enable those who were convicted under the military’s former sodomy law to apply for a formal certificate of pardon, which will help clear their records and allow them to receive withheld veteran’s benefits.

The military ban on sodomy, including consensual gay sex, stood from 1951 until the law was rewritten by Congress in 2013. That revision came two years after then-President Barack Obama repealed the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, which banned openly gay people from enlistment.

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FILE PHOTO: US Army recruits arrive for basic training in September 2022 at Fort Jackson in Columbia, South Carolina.
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Troops who were court-martialed for engaging in gay sex typically were given a bad-conduct discharge from the military, making them ineligible for such benefits as pensions, education subsidies and Veteran’s Administration home loans. CNN said Biden’s pardon proclamation will not apply to service members who were convicted of non-consensual sex acts.

The Pentagon launched a review last year to investigate the records of veterans who were discharged because of their sexual orientation. That review doesn’t affect those who were convicted of having gay sex. “For decades, our LGBTQ+ service members were forced to hide or were prevented from serving altogether,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said at the time of the announcement. “Even still, they selflessly put themselves in harm’s way for the good of our country and the American people.”

Republican lawmakers have argued that the Pentagon’s focus on “woke ideology,” emphasizing such issues as sexual orientation and race, is contributing to a recruiting crisis and diminishing military readiness to defend the country. Last year, the Biden administration reportedly extended special privileges to transgender troops, including exemptions from uniform standards and permission to avoid deployment while taking cross-sex hormones.


READ MORE: Pentagon defends LGBTQ priorities

 

 

June 26, 2024 at 04:42AM
RT

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