A Brief History: Restoration of Honor Act

A Brief History
Restoration of Honor Act

Over the last 70 years, an estimated 100,000 LGBTQIA+ servicemembers were forced to leave military service due to discriminatory policies. Further, studies have shown that servicemembers who were racial and ethnic minorities were disproportionately discharged under these policies. The vast majority were “administrative discharges” wherein servicemembers had no access to due process, and inconsistently applied by commanders of specific units and bases. Many of these administrative discharges reflected a less-than-honorable character of discharge, known as “bad paper.” This “bad paper” prevented LGBTQIA+ servicemembers from accessing veterans’ benefits and harmed their prospects for employment, housing, and other civilian opportunities.

To address these historic inequities, on November 11, 2019, New York State enacted the Restoration of Honor Act, authorizing the New York State Division of Veterans’ Services (DVS) to review “bad paper” administrative discharges that were rooted in injustices, misdiagnoses, or injustices surrounding anti-LGBTQIA+ policies, Military Sexual Trauma (MST), Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), or Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI). The Act authorizes DVS to deem a veteran’s service as honorable for the purposes of accessing New York State veterans’ benefits.

More information is available at https://veterans.ny.gov/content/restoration-honor-act.