Senators: DADT discharge corrections stuck in red tape

“As long as a former service member's Narrative Reason for a discharge is ‘Homosexual Conduct,’ ‘Homosexual Act’ or ‘Homosexual Marriage,’ that service member is compelled to be ‘out’ to any future civilian employer and anyone else who sees the document,” the senators wrote. “Likewise, the negative re-entry code serves as a barrier to employment opportunities.”

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The senators asked Panetta to remove the documentation requirements for changing the discharge, including providing evidence that must overcome the “presumption” from the discharge review board that the discharge was proper.

“The Department should further clarify that, where there are no aggravating factors in the service member's record, the presumption should be in favor of correction,” the senators wrote.

“Veterans who were discharged under DADT should not be compelled to carry with them a narrative reason for separation that indicates their sexual orientation to anyone who sees their discharge document,” they said. “In order to begin to put the regrettable policy of DADT fully behind us, the process of getting these documents corrected needs to be accessible and achievable for all.”