Statement on the Federal Court’s Rejection of Motion to Dismiss the “Justice for LGBTQ Veterans” Case

On June 20, 2024, a federal judge in San Francisco rejected the Department of Defense’s motion to dismiss a lawsuit challenging ongoing discrimination against LGBTQ+ veterans discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and similar earlier policies. Below is a statement from the Impact Fund, Legal Aid at Work, and King & Spalding LLP regarding this decision.

“We are very pleased that the Court recognized the merits of this case by denying the Department of Defense’s motion to dismiss. This ruling allows us to move forward in rectifying the discriminatory effects of the Department of Defense’s policies, ensuring that LGBTQ+ veterans receive the honor they rightfully deserve, having served our country with dignity and integrity.

Over 35,000 service members were kicked out of the U.S. military based on sexual orientation and issued paperwork that explicitly called out their actual or perceived sexual orientation. Nearly 30,000 were denied honorable discharges, resulting in decades of discrimination—even after Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) was repealed in 2011. These veterans have been forced to carry official yet discriminatory paperwork from the U.S. government that unnecessarily indicates their sexual orientation anytime they try to prove their status as veterans.

This decision is especially significant as it comes during Pride Month, a time when we celebrate the progress, and recognize the ongoing struggle for, LGBTQ+ rights. These brave veterans honorably served our country, and we look forward to securing the justice they rightfully deserve.”

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