NY Lawmaker Backs State Benefits for Gay Veterans

ALBANY - A state lawmaker says New York should ensure that veterans discharged for their sexual orientation under the U.S. military's old policies are eligible for the 53 state programs, benefits and tax breaks other vets can get.

State Sen. Brad Hoylman (D-Manhattan) says he'll sponsor legislation to do that for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender New Yorkers who are among the estimated 114,000 service members discharged since World War II for their orientation or gender identity.

That estimate includes 14,000 who were discharged under the "don't ask, don't tell" policy established in 1993 and repealed in 2011.

Hoylman says many of those veterans received an "other than honorable" discharge, costing them benefits. His bill would establish a simple certification within the State Division of Veterans' Affairs for LGBT veterans to clarify their discharge status.


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