Biden’s Latest Move: Pardons for Veterans Convicted of Gay Sex

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President Joe Biden is expected to pardon US veterans convicted over 60 years under an old military law that banned gay sex. That’s right, folks—Biden’s back at it again, playing political games instead of addressing our nation’s real issues. According to three US officials, the pardon proclamation is set to be announced on Wednesday and will affect roughly 2,000 people.

Now, let’s break this down. The pardon itself won’t automatically change convicted veterans’ records. Instead, it allows those affected to apply for a certificate of pardon, which could help them receive previously withheld benefits. So, it’s another bureaucratic hoop to jump through, courtesy of our Commander-in-Chief.

CNN, of course, was the first to report on this. The pardon targets service members convicted under the old Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 125, which criminalized sodomy between consenting adults between 1951 and 2013. Congress finally rewrote this law in 2013. It’s important to note that this pardon doesn’t cover anyone convicted of non-consensual acts like rape.

As expected, the White House had no comment. No surprise there—they’re too busy figuring out how to spin this for the next election cycle. Meanwhile, let’s not forget that in 2011, Congress repealed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, but not before thousands of service members were booted from the military.

A veteran’s discharge status can significantly impact their Veterans Affairs benefits. For example, a bad-conduct discharge from a general court-martial can render someone ineligible for critical services like VA home loans, military pensions, and education benefits. This pardon is separate from the Pentagon’s ongoing review of military records for those discharged based on sexual orientation, which one official clarified doesn’t apply to convictions under the UCMJ.

Last September, the Pentagon launched a new outreach campaign to reach more veterans who believe they “suffered an error or injustice” and have their records reviewed.

“For decades, our LGBTQ+ service members were forced to hide or were prevented from serving altogether,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said back then. “Even still, they selflessly put themselves in harm’s way for the good of our country and the American people.”

To get their records changed under the pardon, veterans must complete an online application, which their military service department will review. The services will then examine the individual’s court-martial and service records to decide if they qualify for the pardon. This determination will then go to the attorney general, acting through the Department of Justice’s pardon attorney.

It’s a long, convoluted process that doesn’t automatically change someone’s discharge status. Even if a certificate of pardon is issued, the service member must apply to their military department’s board of corrections to update their military records. So, it’s another layer of red tape and government inefficiency.

Ultimately, Biden’s pardon is another political move, adding more confusion and bureaucracy without addressing the core issues. Let’s hope our veterans, who have already been through enough, don’t get lost in this political charade.