During a meeting Tuesday, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced an update to the military’s discrimination policy that would afford gay and lesbian troops in the military the same protections as straight soldiers and troops. The announcement was made at the Pentagon’s Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride event before a standing room only crowd.
“Discrimination of any kind has no place in America’s armed forces,” Carter said. The military needs “to be a meritocracy.”
The change ensures that gay and lesbian troops’ complaints about discrimination based on sexual orientation will be investigated by the Military Equal Opportunity program, the same office that handles complaints based on race, color, religion, sex or national origin.
Previously, gay and lesbian troops were required to register discrimination complaints with inspector general offices. (Tom Vanden Brook, USA Today)
The change to the policy not the first its kind offering protections to gay and lesbian servicemen and servicewomen. The military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that removed any soldier or troop from their service if their homosexuality was revealed was repealed in 2011. The Pentagon is also reviewing all military health policies, including the current guidelines that allows transgendered troops to be removed from service due to what it calls health reasons. The health policy review is expected to take 12-18 months. It is estimated that there are currently 15,000 transgendered members of the military.
Source: USA Today
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