Veterans’ Benefits for Servicemembers Discharged Due to Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity (S.45-A – Hoylman; A.54-A – Buchwald)

Bill S.45-A-Hoylman and Bill A.54-A-Buchwald, both of which are known as the New York State Restoration of Honor Act, relate to military veterans who received less-than-honorable discharges for making statements about their sexuality or gender identity, for engaging in consensual same-sex activity, or for engaging in transgendered behavior. The bills would make such veterans eligible for state and local government veterans’ programs, benefits and services.  These bills are carelessly drafted and would open the door to fraud. In essence, the bills would allow access to veterans’ benefits based only upon the say-so of an applicant. Such a system could waste state resources and services on persons who never served in combat, or on persons who never served in the Armed Forces at all.