Biden to pardon veterans convicted for consensual sex crimes under military ban: Report

The pardons will affect those directly convicted under Article 125, including those attempting to have sexual intercourse with a consensual partner. People convicted of rape or other nonconsensual acts will not be pardoned.

Published: June 25, 2024 5:30pm

President Joe Biden this week is expected to pardon veterans who were convicted of sex crimes under a previous military law that included a ban on sexual intercourse between people of the same gender, CNN reported Tuesday.

The United States military banned sodomy within its ranks via Uniform Code of Military Justice Article 125 in 1951. Congress rewrote the law in 2013.

The pardon is expected to come Wednesday and affect roughly 2,000 veterans, one source told CNN. The pardons will affect those directly convicted under Article 125, including those who attempted to have sexual intercourse with a consensual partner. It will not apply to individuals convicted of rape or other nonconsensual acts.

The proclamation will not automatically change a veteran's conviction status, but will permit impacted individuals to apply for a "certificate of pardon" that will help them get benefits to which they were not previously entitled because of their discharge status, such as education benefits and a home loan pension.

Veterans who believe they are eligible for the pardon must complete an online form that will go to their military service department, which will then review the person's court-martial and service record to determine if their eligibility.

The military also had a "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" directive which prohibited the military from asking about a person's sexual orientation. Congress repealed that directive in 2011. Thousands of service members were discharged under that directive.

Defense officials said the pardons are separate from the Pentagon's review of people who were discharged over their sexual orientation, under the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" directive.

The Pentagon is conducting a separate review of discharges over sexual orientation and in September launched an initiative encouraging affecting veterans to seek a review of their records.

“For decades, our LGBTQ+ service members were forced to hide or were prevented from serving altogether,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said at the time. “Even still, they selflessly put themselves in harm’s way for the good of our country and the American people.”

Misty Severi is an evening news reporter for Just the News. You can follow her on X for more coverage.

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