The Agenda

Sciortino bill extends state benefits to gay and lesbian servicemembers

A new bill sponsored by openly gay Massachusetts state Rep. Carl Sciortino would extend state benefits to gay and lesbian servicemen and women who have been discharged under the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy.

The bill would provide the soldiers with the same tax breaks, welcome home and education benefits granted to their straight counterparts. According to The Somerville Journal, the legislation would not cover any federal benefits.

While some onlookers have raised concerns over whether the bill would jeopardize federal benefits, Navy veteran Barbara Greene testified in support of the bill.

“All service personnel, regardless of their sexual orientation, need to receive equal treatment under state law,” she said. “I would say that it’s not the money that we would lose, but the lack of honor for all the people that have been in service.”

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