‘A monumental step’ for LGBTQ+ rights
U.S. Air Force Master Sgt. Glorimar Vega-Sanchez, 125th Communications Squadron non-commissioned officer in charge, speaks as part of a Pride Panel hosted by the 125th Fighter Wing in Jacksonville, Fla., June 9, 2024. The panel, composed of Airmen who identify as LGBTQ+, used the platform to share personal anecdotes and field questions about their experiences serving as LGBTQ members in the military. The event was held in commemoration of Pride Month celebrated in June.

‘A monumental step’ for LGBTQ+ rights

The American Legion applauded President Joe Biden’s proclamation to pardon former servicemembers who were unjustly convicted under the military's past policy prohibiting being openly gay, lesbian or bisexual.

“This noble action is a monumental step toward rectifying a grave injustice, affirming our nation’s commitment to the principles of justice and equality for all who have sworn to protect our country with their lives,” said Chanin Nuntavong, executive director of The American Legion’s Government Affairs Office in Washington, D.C. “The president’s action not only corrects historic wrongs but also strengthens the foundational principles of diversity and inclusion that are crucial to the strength and moral integrity of our Armed Forces and our country as a whole.”

The American Legion has been at the forefront of advocating for the rights and fair treatment of all veterans, including members of the LGBTQ+ community. The National Executive Committee affirmed that stance with Resolution No. 10, Care for the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, + (LGBTQ+) Veteran Community, adopted in May 2022. The resolution calls for all veterans to receive the VA care and benefits they have rightfully earned.

Biden’s decision to pardon these veterans aligns with The American Legion’s ongoing efforts to advocate for equitable treatment across all spectrums of VA health care and benefits programs. It also addresses critical issues highlighted in Resolution 10, such as the undue hardships faced by LGBTQ+ veterans due to past discriminatory policies.

“The American Legion not only believes but demonstrates that a veteran is a veteran, without regard to gender, race or sexual identity,” Nuntavong said.