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Thursday, 28 April 2011

Marines trained on accepting gay recruits as military ends 'don't ask, don't tell'

By Jennifer Madison of www.dailymail.co.uk
  • Soldiers warned to adhere to orders and not personal beliefs
The Marine Corps is on its final stretch of training to prepare for gays to openly serve in the military, ending the 17-year-old policy commonly known as 'don't ask, don't tell.'
The latest round of training material asks Marines to consider their reactions to a range of scenarios, including seeing a fellow member holding a banner promoting gay rights as he or she participates in a parade.
Training for the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marines began early this year and is expected to finish by June 1.
Training session: U.S. Marines attended a training session on Thursday to familiarise themselves with the military's repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy
Training session: U.S. Marines attended a training session on Thursday to familiarise themselves with the military's repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy


On Thursday, members of the 1st Marine Logistics Group reported to class at Camp Pendleton, California to study the latest round of training material.
Briefing material for Marine instructors states: 'These changes are about policy. The policy is about adherence to orders and behaviour, and not about beliefs.'

It explains there is nothing wrong with 'hanging around' a gay bar, and the officer who witnesses the loud locker-room banter aimed at gays and lesbians should remind the Marines any discrimination or harassment is inappropriate.
For those who oppose the new policy, the Marine Corps says it doesn't expect anyone to change their personal beliefs. Still, everyone must follow orders.
Briefing: Marines are asked to consider reactions to scenarios including seeing a member 'hanging around' a gay bar to hearing locker-room jokes
Briefing: Marines are asked to consider reactions to scenarios including seeing a member 'hanging around' a gay bar to hearing locker-room jokes
The training material continues: 'You remain obligated to follow orders that involve interaction with others who are gay or lesbian, even if an unwillingness to do so is based on strong, sincerely held moral or religious beliefs.'
A top-notch recruiter who opposes the new policy cannot refuse a promising applicant on grounds of sexual orientation but might be considered for another assignment and, at the discretion of the Navy secretary, may be granted early discharge.
Chaplains who preach at base chapels that homosexuality is a sin are entitled to express their religious beliefs during worship.
General James Amos, the Marine Corps commandant, testified in Congress earlier this month the Marines expect to finish training on the new policy by June 1.
House Military Personnel: Subcommittee members listened on during the April 1 hearing on the implementation for the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'
House Military Personnel: Subcommittee members listened on during the April 1 hearing on the implementation for the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell'
General Amos testified last year that permitting gays to openly serve could disrupt smaller combat units and distract leaders from preparing for battle.
When he appeared this month before the House Armed Services Committee, he said he had been looking for problems that might arise under the new policy and hadn't found any 'recalcitrant pushback.'
'There has not been the anxiety over it from the forces in the field,' he said.
Although President Barack Obama signed the legislation in December, training and certification must be complete before the repeal before the ban is lifted.
As a result, gay rights of those in service remain restricted under the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy.
Just this week, a lesbian cadet who resigned from West Point has been rejected for readmission to the academy because of her sexuality.
Officials at the U.S. Military Academy said they had no choice but to reject Katherine Miller's application, because the repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy barring gays from serving openly in the military is not in effect yet.

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