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Illinois Senate passes bill to restore benefits to LGBTQ veterans

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A bill that would restore benefits to LGBTQ veterans who were discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” passed the Illinois Senate on Tuesday, May 25.

LGBTQ veterans discharged under the policy got an “Other than Honorable” discharge, making them ineligible for state veteran benefits. House Bill 1290 would allow veterans whose discharge was solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity to begin receiving state veterans benefits.

“As a veteran, I understand how much these benefits from the state can help veterans. From housing to assistance with burial, state benefits play a large role in supporting our veterans,” said State Sen. Tom Cullerton (D- Villa Park), the senate sponsor. “For someone not to receive this assistance solely because of their sexual orientation or gender identity is outdated and unfair.”

The bill has now moved on to the House.

According to a report from Harvard Law School, more than 100,000 service members were expelled from the military between World War II and 2011 for their actual or perceived sexual orientation.

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