Gov. Malloy Signs Law Updating Anti-Discrimination Policies at the Conn. Military Department
New Guidelines at State Agency Reflect Recent Policy Changes in the U.S. Military
(HARTFORD, CT) - Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that he has signed into law legislation that he introduced earlier this year updating the anti-discrimination statutes for the Connecticut Military Department to align them with recent policy changes in the United States military.
"These are straightforward changes - and they are the right thing to do. That's why they received near unanimous support in the General Assembly," Governor Malloy said. "Those who protect and serve our nation shouldn't face discrimination, and these changes are overdue. I applaud the federal government for taking this step toward equality, and am proud to sign this law on behalf of our state to bring them into alignment."
Unlike other state agencies, anti-discrimination laws for the Connecticut Military Department only included race, religion, and creed. The new law expands the guidelines to include:
- National origin
- Gender identity or expression
- Sexual orientation
"These updates highlight our commitment to equality and fairness," Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. "Just as the military has modernized technology and training, updating the policies protecting human capital are just common sense."
"This legislation aligns the state law concerning nondiscrimination in Connecticut's armed forces with federal law and policies of the United States armed forces," Major General Thaddeus J. Martin, Adjutant General of the Connecticut National Guard, told lawmakers in testimony he gave supporting the bill. "The privilege to serve in the armed forces is an important aspect of citizenship, which should not be denied based on archaic discriminatory rationales. Enactment of this bill will be an important step in the fight against discrimination."
The legislation is Public Act 16-153, An Act Concerning the Military Department's Nondiscrimination Laws. It takes effect immediately.
Governor Malloy previously enacted important legislation along similar lines. In 2013, he signed legislation in response to the federal government's elimination of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy that prohibited homosexuals from openly serving in the Armed Forces. That bill restored state benefits for military veterans who had been previously denied federal benefits based solely on his or her sexual orientation.
The Connecticut Military Department has oversight over the Connecticut Army National Guard, the Connecticut Air National guard, and four companies of the state militia. It augments state and local civil authorities in case of emergencies beyond their capabilities and provides assistance to local areas through community service programs. The National Guard also performs its federal mission as the primary augmenter to the active federal military forces.
Office of Lieutenant Governor Nancy Wyman