Obama pardons man locked up for being gay in the army
In one of his last acts as president, Barack Obama has pardoned a former officer who was imprisoned for being gay in the army.
Peter Heidgerd was a captain when he was convicted for “conduct unbecoming of an officer” in 1989 and jailed for a year.
On being released from prison, Mr Heidgerd struggled to find a job because he had committed a felony and held a criminal record.
On issuing him with a Presidential Pardon this week, Mr Obama has, in effect, erased that record.
Representing Mr Heidgerd, Robin Clark said that he had held the record for almost 30 years.
“He had a felony on his record,” he said.
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“So when he came back to Georgia to find a job he could not get one because no one would hire him with a felony on his record and less-than-honorable discharge.”
Mr Heidgerd said “I didn’t need a president to pardon me but this helps.”
“I’ve never arrived. I’ve never been allowed to arrive,” he added.
“But I have been the person I wanted to be…I knew whatever I was as a person that I needed to love me and be me.”
Mr Heidgerd’s pardon came on the same day as the President pardoned whistleblower Chelsea Manning.
The President commuted her sentence from 35 years to seven.