A decorated former staff-sergeant in the U.S. Air Force booted under “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” is suing the federal government after he was denied full separation pay.

Richard Collins was honorably discharged in 2006 for violating the policy that bans gay troops from serving openly, ending his military career of 9 years.

Separation pay is given to service members who served at least 6 years but were involuntarily discharged. The compensation is cut in half for gay or bisexual service members discharged for violating the policy. The 19-year-old policy went into effect two years before “Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed the lawsuit on behalf of Collins.

“By denying servicemen and women full separation pay, the military is needlessly compounding discrimination perpetuated by 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'” Joshua Block, staff attorney with the ACLU Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Project, said in a statement.

The separation pay policy was not enacted by Congress. The ACLU said the Defense Department has refused their repeated requests to alter the policy.

“The Obama administration has repeatedly said the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' statute is wrong, but that it needs to work with Congress to repeal the law. But the separation pay issue is entirely within the administration's control. The administration can at least take a preliminary step toward backing up its rhetoric with action by addressing this issue promptly and protecting gay and lesbian service members from needless additional discrimination.”

Collins, who was stationed at Cannon Air Force Base in New Mexico, was dismissed after two civilian co-workers witnessed him kiss his boyfriend in a car stopped at an intersection. The incident happened off-base and Collins was not in uniform.

“After nine years of honorable service, it's not fair that I should be deprived of the same benefits given to other dedicated service members who are adjusting to civilian life,” Collins said.

Gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans has asked the Supreme Court to reinstate a lower court's ruling setting aside the policy as the government appeals the case.