According to a pending Senate Bill, since World War II more than 100,000 Service Members are estimated to have been discharged from the military because of their sexual orientation. Many of these Service Members were assigned discharge characterizations that were not honorable. After 1993 when DADT went into effect, some Service Members may have received honorable discharge characterizations, but other notations (narrative reasons including the word “homosexual” or reentry/reenlistment codes barring reenlistment) on their DD Form 214 were likely polarizing and harmful. One or more of these notations could render these Service Members completely or partially disqualified from accessing benefits earned (such as education tuition assistance, veterans’ health care, and disability compensation); put them at risk of discrimination and threaten their privacy; stifle employment opportunities; bar receipt of any kind of government assistance; and destroy the right to possess firearms and the right to VOTE!
Separately or taken together, one can see how these various factors can have devastating lifelong consequences and financial impact. However, IF YOU ARE ONE OF THESE SERVICE MEMBERS, THE TIDE HAS FINALLY TURNED! Effective September 20, 2011, after repeal of DADT, the Under Secretary of Defense issued a policy that generally directed Service Boards to grant Service Members’ requests for discharge characterization upgrades, changes of narrative reasons for discharge, changes of separation and separation program designator (SPD) codes, and changes of reentry/reenlistment codes when the following two conditions are met:
We have a client that, in a nutshell, was discharged for a homosexual act simply because she kissed another female sailor – that’s right, KISSED. In addition to securing an honorable discharge, we were able to obtain changes to every possible notation, on our client’s newly corrected DD Form 214 and service records, by filing a detailed, multiple page argument, with supporting documentation to the Board for Correction of Naval Records (BCNR). Although practically 20 years after discharge, our client’s life and future have been profoundly impacted by the positive result we were able to obtain for her from the BCNR. Following is what our client had to say about her experience: “I have always had a strong calling to serve my country and community. This upgrade has now allowed me to pursue my dreams of a career in law enforcement, and continue military service. I am currently in the application process with my local sheriff department, and have spoken to Air Force Reserve Recruiters for opportunities to proudly serve. I owe it all to Brandy and the Military Justice Attorneys!”
If you were discharged under DADT or a similar law and want to upgrade your discharge characterization and/or have other notations changed in your service records and on your DD Form 214, please don’t wait any longer–call or contact an MJA attorney now to arrange your free initial consultation. (Law current as of 2016 April 20.)