The new commandant of the US Marine Corps said Saturday that now is the wrong time to overturn the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy prohibiting gays from openly serving in the military, as US troops remain in the thick of war in Afghanistan.
“There’s risk involved; I’m trying to determine how to measure that risk,” Gen. James Amos said. “This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness. That’s what the country pays its Marines to do.”
Last month, the Pentagon was forced to lift its ban on openly serving gays for eight days after a federal judge in California ordered the military to do so. The Justice Department has appealed, and a federal appeals court granted a temporary stay of the injunction.
Amos said the policy’s repeal may have unique consequences for the Marines, which is exempt from a Defense Department rule for troops to have private living quarters except at basic training or officer candidate schools. The Marines puts two people in each room to promote a sense of unity.
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