Sexual orientation 'to become protected class in US military within a week'

The Department of Defence source claimed that all branches of the military had approved the change in the 12 month review

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The Independent US

The Pentagon will update its Military Equal Opportunity policy to include sexual orientation as a protected class as soon as next month a defence official has confirmed.

The official, who works in the Defence Department, told the Washington Blade that a proposed change to the wording of the non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation could be delivered as early as next week.

According to the official, each of the military services has already agreed to the change of wording.

The change has been planned following a 12 month internal review at the Pentagon.  Previous attempts to include sexual orientation in the revision had appeared to fail, but have been re-energised recently.

The Military Equal Opportunity policy is a means to identify certain classes of service members that should be protected from discrimination in order to rise to the highest possible level.

Currently, race, colour, religion, age, physical or mental disability, sex and national origin are all covered by the policy.

Commenting on the development, Ashley Broadway-Mack, president of the American Military Partner Association, the largest LBGT support network for the US military, said that all people deserved to be in an environment free of discrimination.

Mr Broadway-Mack told the Washington Blade: ““All service members, regardless of their sexual orientation, deserve to be able to serve our nation in an environment free from discrimination and harassment.

“For the sake of fairness, equality, and ensuring our troops are able to focus on the mission first, we again urge Secretary Carter to take action in updating the military’s non-discrimination protections and equal opportunity program for our service members.

“Extending these vitally important non-discrimination protections to gay and lesbian troops will take us one step closer to the goal of full LGBT military equality.”