In announcing the legislation in front of the reviewing stand for the Long Island Pride Parade in Huntington, Israel was joined by David Kilmnick, chief executive officer of Long Island Gay and Lesbian Youth, and Robert O. Hawkins Jr., a World War II veteran who was dishonorably discharged because he is gay.
Hawkins wanted his career to be in the military.
“I would have been an admiral by now,” he said.
But in 1962, when Hawkins was stationed in Florida, he received an ominous knock at his door.
“They said, ‘We have proof you are a homosexual, and you can either resign your commission or face a court martial,’” Hawkins said. “I resigned. I had no choice, really.”