Need support, need to talk? Call 1-800-243-7692
GMHC - Fight Aids. Love Life.

Governor Andrew Cuomo Signs Bill Granting Benefits to LGBTQ Veterans


For Immediate Release

Media Contacts:
Krishna Stone,


New York, NY--Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) applauds the New York State Legislature for passing and Governor Cuomo for signing legislation, A54/S54, The Restoration of Honor Act, that will create a process for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) veterans who were discharged less than honorably due to their gender identity and/or sexual orientation to apply to receive restored New York State veterans' benefits.

We commend the passage of this bill, which will allow LGBT veterans to apply for state benefits, which were inaccessible to them due to the federal Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy. Despite the repeal of the policy in 2011, it can still take up to 18 months for a veteran to have their status changed via the court system. As a result of passing this legislation, it is estimated that LGBT veterans may be eligible for over 50 different state benefits, programs and tax breaks.

"As the White House continues to advance divisive policies, such as their attempts to ban transgender people from serving in the military, it is integral that New York State work to advance equity," said GMHC CEO Kelsey Louie. "Our veterans deserve our country's utmost respect and support for defending our democracy, and this includes LGBT troops. The Restoration of Honor Act will ensure that LGBT veterans can now apply for various benefits that will make their lives easier and it is the least we can do. We commend Governor Cuomo, Senator Brad Hoylman, Assemblyman David Buchwald and the legislature for passing and signing this bill into law and honoring our brave military."


# # #

About Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC)
Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is the world's first HIV/AIDS service organization. GMHC is on the front lines providing services to over 13,000 people living with and affected by HIV/AIDS. Programs include testing, prevention, nutrition, legal, supportive housing, mental health, and substance use services. GMHC also advocates for stronger public policies at the local, state, and federal levels with the goal of ending AIDS as an epidemic. For more information, visit