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Top U.S. Marine: Openly gay service members not an issue

Top U.S. Marine: Openly gay service members not an issue

WASHINGTON — The head of the U.S. Marine Corps this week stressed that the integration of openly gay and lesbians into the military has gone smoothly.

“I don’t think there is a problem,” said Commandant Gen. James Amos during a National Press Club luncheon in downtown Washington on Tuesday. “I don’t see it. I don’t hear about it.”

Jonathan Ellis, Washington Blade
James Amos

Amos’ comments come nearly a year after the repeal of the Pentagon’s ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers officially took effect. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his 2010 confirmation hearing that he opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” LGBT rights groups later blasted Amos for suggesting that openly gay and lesbian service members would prove a distraction that would lead to further loses on the battlefield. He stressed, however, that the Marines would implement the policy if ordered to do so.

“We obey orders,” said Amos. “We do that better than anybody does and we have.”

He again noted that he doesn’t “even get a question” about openly gay and lesbian servicemembers from subordinates and other Marines.

“I don’t hear anything,” said Amos. “I’m not seeing anything at all, so I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out. I’m very proud of the Marines.”

Zeke Stokes of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network welcomed Amos’ comments.

“It was gratifying to hear General Amos once again affirm his view that the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has proceeded smoothly,” he told the Blade. “His comments certainly reflect what is happening across the services. Now it’s time for us to take the next step and ensure that all service members and their families are treated equally.”

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