Military Anti-Discrimination Act of 2021
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In 2018, US Navy Petty Officer Jonathan Stremel and his autistic son were being physically attacked, emotionally and psychologically and abused. Stremel went to the Navy’s domestic violence shelter and they turned him away because he is a man.
Here is what the Family Advocacy Program (FAP) caseworkers said:
"We have no shelter for men."
"It would be inappropriate for a man to go in (a shelter)."
"We simply don't provide the same services for men that we do for women."
"Men are not allowed in the group therapy for victims."
"We've NEVER allowed a man to use our safe haven shelter."
As a result, he and his son were abused again. And again. And again. They turned him and his son away 5 times, never called the police, never called Child Protective Services, and refused to make a report of any kind. They violated Talia's Law, which makes it mandatory for federal employees on military bases to report accusations of child abuse to the service member's Chain of Command and either the police or Child Welfare Services.
A Command Investigation found that FAP violated Talia's Law and even hid evidence, spread rumors about Stremel, and issued a letter calling him the abuser (which they eventually apologized for 311 days later.)
Here's what Military leaders are saying:
"I do not believe FAP would have treated a woman that way."
"I agree that (the Family Advocacy Program, FAP) has a discriminatory manner in how they conduct business."
"I’ve never seen anything like it... Never has a case been like this been so mishandled."
"The system is broken."
"If the genders were reversed, ET1 would have received help."
U.S. Service Members help protect Americans’ basic rights to work without fear of being discriminated against on the basis of race, color, religion, absence of religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, age, disability, marital status, or political affiliation. However, troops do not have the same basic rights! It is time to demand congress to pass a bill to allow service members the ability to bring claims against the federal government for discrimination.
Stremel lost full custody of his son and spent tens of thousands of dollars trying to hold the Navy accountable. The Department of Justice admitted he was discriminated against, but told him that a “legal loophole” prohibited him from filing a lawsuit, granting the Department of Defense "the privilege to freely discriminate against US service members."
This is unacceptable.
The “Petty Officer Jonathan Stremel Military Anti-Discrimination Act of 2020” will protect soldiers, sailors, airmen, and guardians from being discriminated against by the very government they are sworn to defend. By opening the doors for anyone to serve our country freely, we are fostering an environment that encourages Americans from all backgrounds to join without the fear of oppression, fear of alienating families and dependents, and fear of retaliation for being themselves.
By signing this petition, we will send a bold message to congress saying our military will be deadlier through diversity, stronger through acceptance, and effective through tolerance. The US Military is the most diverse fighting force the world has ever seen. It’s time we respect, protect, and preserve that legacy!
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