Biden Pardons LGBTQ Veterans in Suspect Election Year Move

President Biden, in a move that’s sure to stir the pot, is playing the Pride Month card by pardoning U.S. service members convicted under old military laws banning gay sex, aiming to grant these individuals military benefits like pensions and home loans. This grand gesture, of course, is timed perfectly for election season, pandering to LGBTQ voters as his campaign strains to maintain their support.

This pardon affects thousands of veterans but won’t magically erase their records. Instead, it’s designed to help them access military benefits previously withheld due to their convictions. Biden’s announcement paints him as a crusader for justice, claiming he’s correcting a historical wrong and freeing these service members from their unjust burdens.

However, the timing is suspect. As LGBTQ support for Biden wanes, despite the flashy campaigns and rainbow-hued photo ops, Biden needs the votes. One can’t ignore that it’s an election-year maneuver with a heavy dose of symbolism rather than substantive changes. For instance, these pardons do not automatically alter service records or discharge statuses. Veterans will still need to jump through bureaucratic hoops to adjust their records and access benefits.

In another photogenic moment sure to hit all the right social media buttons, Biden will prance over to the Stonewall Riots site with Elton John. It’s all part of the broader strategy—rallying a community at over 200 Pride events, peppered with media blitzes—to solidify his LGBTQ base. Yet, the Human Rights Campaign and others warn that support for Biden is diminishing, with one-third of voters who prioritize LGBTQ rights drifting away from his camp.

The more cynical viewpoint is that Biden’s pardon is more about optics than justice. The pardon covers those convicted of consensual acts under the long-redundant Article 125 of the Uniform Code of Military Justice, rewritten a decade ago in 2013. Service members convicted of non-consensual acts, naturally, remain unaffected. It’s as if Biden is tossing a bone to stave off growing dissatisfaction among his LGBTQ supporters while ensuring no one forgets who the supposed hero is come November.

One senior White House official noted that affected individuals could still have their records updated—by filling out forms and waiting for the Pentagon to scrutinize each case. Bureaucracy at its finest. This move might very well be the political equivalent of throwing glitter on an old problem, ensuring Biden looks the part of savior without doing the heavy lifting required for real change.

Written by Staff Reports

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