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Durbin Issues Statement on President Biden's Pardon of LGBTQ+ Service Members Who Wrongfully Received Dishonorable Discharges for their Identity

CHICAGO – On the ninth anniversary of the Obergefell v. Hodeges ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, U.S. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, released the following statement on President Biden’s pardon for military service members who were convicted under a now-repealed military law because of their sexual orientation: 

“On the anniversary of Obergefell, President Biden has taken another step forward in advancing the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans by offering a long-overdue pardon for those wrongfully convicted under a now-repealed military law for their identity.  Our service members bravely serve this country and fight for the rights and security of every American.  We owe them tremendous gratitude for their service.  It’s a shameful mark on our nation’s history that we allowed discriminatory policies like ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ or such wrongful convictions and discharges to stay intact for so long.  Now, these service members will receive the recognition and benefits they rightfully deserve.

“While our nation has made progress in protecting the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans, we are still fighting back against divisive rhetoric, discrimination, and harmful legislation.  I won’t stop fighting until we have a country that offers the full freedom for LGBTQ+ Americans to live as who they are.”

As Chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Durbin has pushed for the advancement of LGBTQ+ rights.  Last June, he held a Committee hearing entitled, “Protecting Pride: Defending the Civil Rights of LGBTQ+ Americans.”  He has also delivered speeches on the Senate floor denouncing the harmful anti-LGBTQ+ legislation that has been introduced across the country, particularly laws targeting transgender youth.