The US president seeks to correct a ‘historic error’ by allowing thousands to apply for pardon, recover lost wages and benefits.

President Joe Biden is offering a pardon to military veterans convicted under a now-repealed law that banned homosexuality in the United States military.

Biden announced in a statement issued Wednesday that his act of clemency was “righting a historic wrong.” The pardon could benefit thousands of former service members tried in military courts under laws that criminalized gay sex between consenting adults.

“Despite their courage and great sacrifice, thousands of LGBTQI+ service members have been forced to leave the military because of their sexual orientation or gender identity,” the statement read. Some of these patriotic Americans have been subjected to military trials and have borne the burden of this great injustice for decades,” Biden said in a statement.

The proclamation would affect those convicted of engaging in sodomy under Article 125 of the Code of Military Justice. The law went into effect in 1951 and was rewritten in 2013 to prohibit only forcible acts.

Most of the convictions occurred before the institution of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 1993, which allowed LGBTQ troops to serve as long as they did not reveal their sexual orientation. In 2011, Congress allowed them to serve openly in the military.

The administration is considering ways to reach individuals who may be eligible for clemency.

Recipients can request proof that their conviction was overturned and have their discharges from the military updated, allowing them to recover lost wages and benefits.

The president’s use of the pardon power comes during Pride Month and days before a fundraiser with LGBTQ donors on Friday.

“We have a sacred obligation to all of our service members – including our courageous LGBTQI+ members – to adequately prepare and equip them when they are deployed to danger zones, and to care for them and their families when they return home,” he said. he.

Service members convicted under other articles of the military justice code, which may have been used as a pretext to punish or expel LGBTQ troops, would need to apply for clemency through the Justice Department’s normal pardon process.

This is the third categorical pardon from Biden, who has extended his clemency powers to cover a broad group of people convicted of specific crimes, including steps in 2022 and 2023 to pardon those convicted of marijuana possession.



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