Pritzker signs bill restoring benefits to LGBTQ veterans

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signs HB1290, restoring benefits to LGBTQ veterans discharged under "Don't Ask Don't Tell" on Sunday, Aug. 15, at Camp Lincoln in Springfield. Photo courtesy of Mike Ziri/Equality Illinois

Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker signed a bill restoring benefits to LGBTQ veterans on Sunday, Aug. 15.

The bill was one of several veteran-related bills signed by the governor at Camp Lincoln in honor of Veterans Day at the Illinois State Fair.

The bill was passed by the Illinois General Assembly in May.

LGBTQ veterans discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” got an “Other than Honorable” discharge, making them ineligible for state veteran benefits. House Bill 1290 allows veterans whose discharge was solely based on their sexual orientation or gender identity to begin receiving state veterans benefits.

The bill was led by State Rep. Joyce Mason (D-Gurnee).

“As someone from a military family, I hold near to my heart values of service and patriotism. Countless LGBTQ people who also shared those values sought to serve America as part of her armed forces. Yet, decades of discriminatory policies betrayed their service,” said Brian C. Johnson, CEO of Equality Illinois. “HB 1290 is an important step to restoring honor for those patriotic LGBTQ Illinoisans. Thank you to Gov. Pritzker, Rep. Mason, and Sen. Cullerton for your support of our LGBTQ veterans with this new law. We are grateful for their service and sacrifice.”