Bill would restore benefits for LGBTQ veterans who were wrongly dishonorably discharged.
DENVER, CO– The House State, Civic, Military, & Veterans Affairs Committee today advanced Representative David Ortiz’s bill to ensure that LGBTQ veterans who received a dishonorable discharge from the military because of their sexual orientation or gender identity can access the veterans benefits they have earned. The bill passed committee by a vote of 8-3.
“I consider every veteran a family member, and by advancing this bill today I’m hoping to do right by the brothers and sisters who served with honor and were unjustly discharged,” said Rep. Ortiz, D-Littleton. “I know all too well the work they did and the sacrifices they made to earn the benefits that were stripped from them because they dared express who they truly are. As a veteran and a member of the LGBTQ caucus, helping them regain access to these programs and supports seems like the least we can do.”
Before the repeal of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”, countless servicemembers were discharged other than honorably due to their sexual orientation, gender identity or expression. This prevented many LGBTQ+ veterans in Colorado from qualifying for the same state programs and benefits that their peers have access to. SB21-026, the Restoration of Honor Act, will create the “discharged LGBT veteran” status and allow Coloradans who fall under this category to access existing state programs available to honorably discharged veterans.