Navy veteran says he deserves benefits after 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' repeal

U.S. congressman joins his fight

SAN DIEGO - A Navy veteran says he was cheated out of military benefits after the repeal of a military policy on gays, as a congressman tries to help thousands like him by passing a new law in Washington.

Because of the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, San Diego veteran Corey Huston said he is entitled to benefits he currently is not getting.

Huston said he was given an "other than honorable" discharge because he's gay.

He said it's something that confuses his friends and other veterans.

"I tell them I was discharged under 'don't ask, don't tell,' and they say they can't do that," Huston told 10News, our Scripps sister station in San Diego. "And I'm like, 'They could -- I was discharged in 2006,' and they say, 'I didn't know people got kicked out for that.'"

Reports show that since World War II to the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 2011, approximately 114,000 service members were discharged because of their sexual orientation and because of the "other than honorable" discharge, they all lost their benefits.

"This isn't about us going back in the military," said Huston, who decided to join the service after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. "This isn't part of the gay rights movement. This is basically about people who served their country and should have the benefits they fought for."

He contacted U.S. Rep. Scott Peters, who later became a co-sponsor of the Restore Honor to Service Members Act.

"If you are in the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines, and discharged just because you are lesbian or gay, you shouldn't be deprived of your benefits," Peters said.

While he is working to get the bill passed, Peters said the bill needs more support.

Huston is working on getting that support through telling his story on a special Facebook page.

In the meantime, Huston has to live without benefits, and he said the "other than honorable discharge" has cost him jobs and thousands of dollars paying for college that he said should have been covered by his GI Bill.

"I don't feel like people who serve their country honorably should be stripped of everything," Huston said.