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Biden pardons veterans convicted under military gay sex ban

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In a move that impacts potentially thousands of former U.S. service members, President Joe Biden pardoned all those convicted of violating a now-repealed ban on consensual gay sex. The action, which comes as Pride month winds down, grants a pardon to service members convicted under the uniform code of military justice’s former article 125, which criminalized sodomy. 

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The law had been in place since 1951. Congress rewrote it in 2013 to ban only forcible acts.

Those covered by the pardon will be able to apply to get proof their conviction has been erased, petition to have their discharges from the military upgraded and move to recover lost pay and benefits. 

In a statement, the president said he was “righting a historic wrong.” 

The White House estimates the change will impact several thousand service members, with the majority convicted before the military instituted the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 1993. It allowed LGBTQ troops to serve, as long as they did not disclose their sexual orientation. That policy was repealed in 2011 when Congress allowed for their open service in the military.

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[KARAH RUCKER]

IN A MOVE THAT IMPACTS POTENTIALLY THOUSANDS OF FORMER U-S SERVICE MEMBERS… PRESIDENT JOE BIDEN HAS PARDONED ALL THOSE CONVICTED OF VIOLATING A NOW-REPEALED BAND ON CONSENSUAL GAY SEX. 

THE ACTION – WHICH COMES AS PRIDE MONTH WINDS DOWN – GRANTS A PARDON TO SERVICE MEMBERS WHO WERE CONVICTED UNDER THE UNIFORM CODE OF MILITARY JUSTICE’S FORMER ARTICLE 125 — WHICH CRIMINALIZED SODOMY. 

THE LAW HAD BEEN IN PLACE SINCE 19-51. 

IT WAS REWRITTEN IN 20-13 TO BAN ONLY FORCIBLE ACTS. 

THOSE COVERED BY THE PARDON WILL BE ABLE TO APPLY TO GET PROOF THEIR CONVICTION HAS BEEN ERASED… PETITION TO HAVE THEIR DISCHARGES FROM THE MILITARY UPGRADED… AND MOVE TO RECOVER LOST PAY AND BENEFITS. 

IN A STATEMENT – THE PRESIDENT SAID HE WAS “RIGHTING A HISTORIC WRONG”. 

THE WHITE HOUSE ESTIMATES SEVERAL THOUSAND SERVICE MEMBERS WILL BE IMPACTED… WITH THE MAJORITY CONVICTED BEFORE THE MILITARY INSTITUTED THE “DON’T ASK, DON’T TELL” POLICY IN 19-93 WHICH ALLOWED L-G-B-T-Q TROOPS TO SERVE AS LONG AS THEY DIDN’T DISCLOSE THEIR SEXUAL ORIENTATION.  

THAT POLICY WAS REPEALED IN 20-11 — WHEN CONGRESS ALLOWED FOR THEIR OPEN SERVICE IN THE MILITARY.