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No full severance for DADT service members

Within days of the controversial "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy's repeal, the Obama administration is trying to block full severance pay for anyone dismissed under the rule.

A lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union seeking full compensation for Air Force Staff Sergeant Richard Collins and 141 other service members who only received half of the normal military severance when they were dismissed for being gay. Collins was honorably discharged in 2006 when he was seen kissing his boyfriend by two co-workers. He was off-duty, out of uniform and ten miles from his Air Force base at the time.

Despite being honorably discharged, Collins received only $12,351 upon his dismissal instead of the $25,702 he expected. The Defense Department has a list of conditions that trigger automatic reductions in severance pay, and homosexuality is included.

The Justice Department has requested the case be dismissed by the U.S. Court of Federal Claims, but the presiding judge said she was unlikely to do so.

The Obama administration says they are not defending DADT and accompanying policies, but have argued that the defense secretary has sole discretion over its rules on separation pay and that the courts cannot determine or revise those rules.

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