The Pentagon on Monday agreed to pay full separation pay to service members discharged under “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”

Gay and bisexual troops who were forced to leave the military because of their sexual orientation prior to repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” and received an honorable discharge got only half of their discharge pay.

Under a settlement to a class-action lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Pentagon has agreed to pay full separation pay to these troops dating back to November 10, 2004.

“It makes no sense to continue to penalize service members who were discharged under a discriminatory statute that has already been repealed,” Joshua Block, a staff attorney for the ACLU's LGBT Project, said in a statement. “The amount of the pay owed to these veterans is small by military standards, but is hugely significant in acknowledging their service to their country.”

Richard Collins, a former Air Force staff sergeant, was fired from his 9-year military career after two civilian co-workers reported to superiors that they had observed Collins kissing his civilian boyfriend. Collins was the lead plaintiff in the case.

“This means so much to those of us who dedicated ourselves to the military, only to be forced out against our will for being who we are,” Collins said. “We gave all we had to our country, and just wanted the same dignity and respect for our service as any other veterans.”

According to the ACLU, at least 180 veterans are affected by the settlement.