The House passed Representative David Ortíz’s bill this week 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 the House by a bipartisan vote of 47-16.
“No one who is willing to put their life at risk to serve our country should be prevented from accessing the benefits they earned because of who they love or how they identify,” said Rep. Ortíz, (D-Littleton). “Coming home and reintegrating into your community after military service is hard enough without facing the additional stigma of being unjustly discharged. I’m proud that we were able to deliver some relief for my brothers and sisters in the armed forces today.”
“No one who is willing to put their life at risk to serve our country should be prevented from accessing the benefits they earned because of who they love or how they identify.”
Rep. David Ortíz
Before the repeal of “Don’t ask, Don’t tell”, countless service members 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.
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