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Furthermore …

Marines ease 50 years of pain

Hal Faulkner’s redemption at the hands of a kinder, gentler Marine Corps is the kind of story Indiana legislators contemplating the anti-gay-marriage amendment should take to heart.

Faulkner, 79, served with the Marines from 1953 to 1956, when he was given an undesirable discharge for being gay.

As NPR’s Quil Lawrence reported this week, the shame of his dismissal was something Faulkner carried with him all his life. When Faulkner was diagnosed with terminal cancer a few years ago, he decided to tell his family about a last wish. The repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, Faulkner had learned, made it possible for him to get his dismissal record changed.

“He’s been carrying this societal shame with him all these years,” Faulkner’s niece, Michelle Clark, told NPR. “We as a family had no idea the pain he had inside of him.”

With the help of an attorney secured by OutServe-SLDN, which deals with the rights of gays in the military, Faulkner’s family was able to get the Marine Corps to change his status to “honorably discharged.”

The Marines even expedited the process.

Presented with the upgrade papers in Florida last week, Lawrence reported, Faulkner told his family and the Marines who delivered it, “I will always be a Marine. Semper fi.”

The 1950s are over and so is official gay discrimination in the armed forces. If the Marines can move on, why can’t our state lawmakers?

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