“This means so much to those of us who dedicated ourselves to the military, only to be forced out against our will for being who we are,” former Air Force Staff Sgt. Richard Collins said in a statement from the American Civil Liberties Union, which brought the lawsuit.
Under “Don’t ask,” service members who were honorably discharged automatically had their separation pay cut in half.
The ACLU of New Mexico sued the Pentagon on behalf of 181 service members who were dismissed under the policy to recover their full pay. Each solider, sailor, airman and Marine in the case will receive, on average, a payout of $13,000, the ACLU said.
The Defense Department will pay a total of $2.4 million to the plaintiffs.