REPORT: Pentagon Set To Add Sexual Orientation As A Protected Class
The Pentagon is preparing to update its Military Equal Opportunity Policy to include sexual orientation as a protected class and the change could be made final as soon as the end of next month, the Washington Blade has learned. A senior defense official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, confirmed late Friday the Defense Department is planning to update the Military Equal Opportunity Policy to add the words “sexual orientation” as part of the non-discrimination policy.
The proposed change is set to be delivered as early as the middle of next week to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter for his review and final approval, the official said. Each of the military services has already agreed to the change, the official said. The planned change follows an internal review at the Pentagon of the Military Equal Opportunity Policy, which the official said lasted about 12 months. Efforts to include sexual orientation in the revision were languishing, but were re-energized after the appointment in April of Brad Carson as under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, the official said.
The Military Equal Opportunity Policy identifies classes of service members that should be protected from discrimination to allow them to rise to highest level or responsibility possible. As it stands, the Military Equal Opportunity Policy includes race, color, religion, age, physical or mental disability, sex and national origin. However, service members as of right now have no recourse for anti-gay discrimination outside of their chain of command.