News Release

Nation’s Defense Bar Applauds Biden’s Pardons of Veterans Unjustly Convicted Under Military Code Prohibiting Gay Sex

Washington, DC (June 26, 2024) – The nation’s criminal defense bar applauds President Joe Biden for his proclamation pardoning approximately 2,000 American veterans unjustly convicted under a discriminatory military code that criminalized homosexual behavior from 1951 to 2013.

Lisa Monet Wayne, Esq., Executive Director of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, stated:

“We commend President Biden for his unprecedented leadership in pardoning thousands of veterans who suffered unjustly due to outdated laws that discriminated against LGBTQI+ individuals. These veterans faced wrongful courts-martial and discharges for conduct in which the government has no rational basis to interfere. This historic clemency action reaffirms our nation's commitment to equal justice under law. The proclamation enables these brave and loyal veterans to apply for certificates of clemency, potentially restoring benefits and upgrading discharge statuses. By honoring their service and sacrifice, President Biden is ensuring that our armed forces reflect the values of dignity and respect that define our nation.”

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Jonathan Hutson, NACDL Senior Director of Public Affairs and Communications, 202-480-5343 or

The National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers is the preeminent organization advancing the mission of the criminal defense bar to ensure justice and due process for persons accused of crime or wrongdoing. A professional bar association founded in 1958, NACDL's many thousands of direct members in 28 countries – and 90 state, provincial and local affiliate organizations totaling up to 40,000 attorneys – include private criminal defense lawyers, public defenders, military defense counsel, law professors and judges committed to preserving fairness and promoting a rational and humane criminal legal system.