Commentary by Chris Carter
On Thursday the Commandant of the Marine Corps voiced his opposition to repealing the law that prevents gays from serving openly in the Armed Forces.
General James Conway told the Senate Armed Services Committee that a repeal of ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell’ (DADT) would negatively affect the military.
“At this point, I think that the current policy works,” Conway said. “My best military advice to this committee, to the secretary, and to the president would be to keep the law such as it is.”
The current law, which came into effect in 1993, states that there is “no constitutional right to serve in the armed forces,” and that Congress can “establish qualifications for and conditions of service.” It also states that persons who “engage in homosexual acts would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.”
Despite the military's regulations banning homosexual behavior, homosexual members are in fact allowed to serve - just not openly. While the military will discharge that member once they are discovered to be gay, the military is not allowed to ask about their lifestyle, and the individual doesn't have to tell. Essentially, it only becomes a problem when the member's lifestyle interferes with the execution of their duties.
“My personal opinion is that unless we can strip away the emotion, the agendas and the politics and ask, at least in my case, do we somehow enhance the war-fighting capabilities of the United States Marine Corps by allowing homosexuals to openly serve?” asked Conway. Indeed, with the military engaged on two battlefields in a conflict that has lasted nearly nine years, now hardly seems to be the right time to put our troops in a position that has already been determined to be an ‘unacceptable risk.’”
Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, have already expressed their support for a repeal of the policy, with Adm. Mullen even saying that it is “the right thing to do.”
Adm. Gary Roughead, the Chief of Naval Operations, told the committee that he would be in opposition as well if an upcoming military study found that the repeal would harm the Navy's readiness, according to Marine Corps Times.
The military is planning a 10-month study on military members and their families on the impact of homosexuals serving in the military and will also ask the RAND Corporation – who has received funding from George Soros' Open Society Institute – to update their 1993 study on the matter.