Gay Vet: 'I Did Absolutely Nothing Dishonorable'

HUNTINGTON, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – One local lawmaker is working to correct what he called unfair discharge papers for gay and lesbian veterans.

Rep. Steve Israel’s legislation would allow service members who were dishonorably discharged from the military for being gay under the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy to receive medical and other benefits back and the recognition he said they deserve.

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As 1010 WINS’ Glenn Schuck reported, the issue precedes the 1990s-era Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell policy.

Robert Hawkins, 75, of Long Island was forced out of the Navy in 1962 for his sexual orientation.

“I lost everything. And the fact that I did something sexual that they didn’t like – totally unfair. I did absolutely nothing dishonorable,” Hawkins told Schuck.

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Hawkins said there are tens of thousands of gay vets awaiting justice.

“Cannot imagine that he won’t get this passed. I will do whatever I can to see that it happens,” said Hawkins. “It gets their self image straightened out, too.”

Rep. Israel announced his legislative effort while attending the Long Island gay pride parade on Saturday.

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