The state House of Representatives granted final legislative approval to a bill that restores state veterans benefits those discharged under the military’s Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.
Senate Bill 70 applies to veterans who were denied federal benefits due to the policy barring gays and lesbians from serving in the armed services.
Under the bill, those veterans would now be eligible for an array of state benefits, including residency in the state veterans home and burial in the state cemetery for veterans.
“Between 1993, when the so-called ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ rule took effect…[and] 2011, when it was repealed, more than 13,000 service members received less than honorable discharges because of their sexual orientation,” Andrew Schneider, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Connecticut, said in written testimony submitted to the legislature’s veterans affairs committee earlier this year.
“These patriotic lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans have been denied many benefits…including some benefits administered by or through the state of Connecticut,” Schnieder said.
The measure now goes to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy for consideration.