Thursday, September 30, 2010

Changing gay policy "a distraction"

During the Senate Armed Services Committee's grilling of General Jim Amos, President Obama's nominee to succeed General James Conway as Commandant of the U.S. Marine Corps; it emerged that Amos was opposed repeal of the law that bans gays from openly serving in the military.

Gen. Amos' comments came in a written statement provided to the panel the day the Senate was gearing up for a make-or-break vote that could force the Pentagon to lift the gay ban before a DOD-led study on the repeal is complete. Amos told the Committee that he worried changing the policy would serve as a "distraction" to Marines fighting in Afghanistan.

"My primary concern with proposed repeal is the potential disruption to cohesion that may be caused by significant change during a period of extended combat operations," Amos wrote. During one exchange with Sen. Pete Sessions, R-Ala., Amos said he would “stand to” and implement any changes in the law on gay service made by Congress. He said the Marine Corps would rely on discipline and leadership to ensure order, but that he didn't envision a gag order on troops who disagreed with revoking the ban.

Some Republicans have suggested they fear troops who openly oppose gay service would be punished for speaking out. "I don't see this as a racist issue," Amos said. "I see this as an anxious issue ... because we don't have the answers yet."

Source: / AP

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