February 22, 1997 in Nation/World

Gay Marine Discharged With Honor, Benefits

Associated Press

A Marine who announced he was gay on national television the same day President Clinton announced his “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was given an honorable discharge and retirement benefits to settle his lawsuit over the rule.

“I think what we’ve proved is that a Marine who happens to be gay can serve just as well as a Marine who’s straight with no detriment to morale or lack of mission operation,” said Sgt. Justin C. Elzie, a medical supply clerk at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville.

Elzie, who received his walking papers Thursday, said he got a $30,000 check as part of his retirement benefits.

Elzie, 34, had already been accepted into an early retirement program when he declared on ABC’s “World News Tonight” that he is gay. His announcement came on Jan. 29, 1993, the same day that President Clinton agreed to the policy on gays in the military.

© Copyright 1997 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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