Air Force grants hon­or­able dis­charge to 91-year-old gay vet

Sun.Star Pampanga - - PERSPECTIVE! -

NEW HAVEN, Conn. -- A 91-year-old vet­eran who was dis­missed from the U.S. Air Force as "un­de­sir­able" in 1948 be­cause he is gay has had that dis­charge sta­tus changed to "hon­or­able."

The move by the Air Force comes in re­sponse to a law­suit filed in Novem­ber by H. Ed­ward Spires of Nor­walk, Con­necti­cut, who served from 1946 to 1948 as a chap­lain's as­sis­tant, earn­ing the rank of sergeant.

Spires was forced out of the mil­i­tary in 1948 af­ter an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into his sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion.

Spires' at­tor­neys said he was orig­i­nally de­nied the dis­charge up­grade af­ter the re­peal of the Don't Ask, Don't Tell pol­icy in 2010 be­cause the Air Force said his records had likely been lost in a 1973 fire.

The Air Force Board for Correction of Mil­i­tary Records in­formed Spires on Fri­day that the hon­or­able dis­charge had been ap­proved by the Air Force Re­view Boards Agency.

Spires' at­tor­neys have said he is in poor health and would like a mil­i­tary fu­neral, which the up­grade makes p ossi bl e.

"The idea that this man of faith who served du­ti­fully as a chap­lain's as­sis­tant in the armed forces, who built a life and a ca­reer that has brought joy to those around him, would leave this earth con­sid­ered un­de­sir­able in the eyes of his coun­try, it's un­think­able," Spires' hus­band, David Rosen­berg, said dur­ing a brief­ing on the case at the Yale Law School in Novem­ber.

Spires' case also was cham­pi­oned by U.S. Sen. Richard Blu­men­thal, D-Conn., who said Mon­day that the Air Force's de­ci­sion "cor­rects an in­cred­i­ble in­jus­tice."

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