General: 95% of Marines Oppose DADT Repeal

In a ranging interview just before his retirement, outgoing Marine Commandant General James Conway said as many as 95% of US Marines would be uncomfortable serving with open homosexuals.

By and large, they say that they are concerned that it will cause potential problems with regard to their order and discipline — that it will impact their sense of unit cohesion, Conway said.

An offiical DoD news release says the Department of Defense will follow the injunction against enforcing the policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” while the DoJ appeals.  Focus on the Family says the case may be “sabotaged,” and any repeal may be harmful:

“Any kind of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell repeal puts the religious liberties of chaplains at risk,” [Bruce Hausknecht, judicial analyst for Focus on the Family] highlighted.

Due to “uncertainty,” the Undersecretary for Personnel Clifford Stanley discouraged homosexuals from announcing themselves:

The injunction and appeal have caused uncertainty for servicemembers about the law, Stanley wrote. “We note for servicemembers that altering their personal conduct in this legally uncertain environment may have adverse consequences for themselves or others should the court’s decision be reversed,” the undersecretary said.

Speaking to the impact repeal would have, the military said:

Invalidating the law will require changes in a number of areas including housing, benefits, re-accession, military equal opportunity, anti-harassment, standards of conduct, rights and obligations of the chaplain corps and others. (emphasis added)

“Amending these regulations would typically take several months,” Stanley said in the deposition. “To change all the implicated policies and underlying regulations will require a massive undertaking by the department and cannot be done overnight.”

It would seem the military thinks there are significant logistical issues to overcome, despite calls for ending the ban with the ‘stroke of a pen.’


  • So, no source for the 95% claim. Made up statistics from a bigot. How shocking.

    But never mind, lets pretend he is correct. That would mean that 95% of US Marines believe that they and their brothers in arms are so unprofessional that they would be unable to do their job effectively if they knew that one of their brothers in arms was gay. 95% of US Marines believe that their branch of the armed service would be unable to cope with a situation that most western armed forces cope with every day including the Israeli and UK special forces. If that is the opinion of the US Marines on the US Marines, then the Marine Corps has a serious problem already.

  • Donalbain,

    If you read the linked article, the General described how he arrived at that number.

    That would mean that 95% of US Marines believe…

    No, it wouldn’t mean that. You’re creating a straw man.

  • I did read the entire article and no Marine in their right mind would not raise their hand in a town hall style meeting…the DADT policy was still enforced at the time and by not raising their hand could probably (and likely) have been seen as an admission…his means were severely flawed.

    General Conway is retiring, I thank him very much for his service. I can only hope his successor has a more open mind.

  • Informal surveys = Pulled from his backside

    And it isn’t a strawman. It is exactly what he says .95% of marines say their branch of the armed forces would have problems of discpline if they knew about gays serving.

  • Don,

    Ever had to do something you were uncomfortable for sake of professionalism? If so, then you could probably agree that the situation demanded something from you that could have been spent on something else. If not, then you have a rather unchallenging life.

    granted the informal surveys were not scientific, but what if 95% of Marines have concerns over the policy? I would venture to say that 95% of military members have some concern over the proposed policy and how it is to be enforced, although most of them probably care more about the details of the G.I. Bill, or the new PT policy, or something that is a bit more immediate. Regardless, there is an internal review in progress and that one is supposed to be scientific.

  • Knowing that gay people exist is “uncomfortable”? Goodness, these US Marines are precious little flowers aren’t they? The KNOWLEDGE that someone they work with is attracted to a person of the same gender as themselves is so uncomfortable for them that they would have problems keeping themselves professional, and it would lead to them having poor discipline and order? Those poor little children. Maybe you need to import some Israeli or British or Australian or Canadian or New Zealand troops who seem to be grown up enough to get on with their jobs while gay people exist.

    And if 95% of soldiers opposed the desegregation of the army?

  • Don,

    You didn’t answer my question. By the way, what line of business are you in again? I know you don’t want to talk about yourself; you’d rather call the people who defend you names because they have concerns over what you think they should do.

  • I have simply pointed out that if they CANT do a job knowing that there are gay people doing the same job, then they must be, by definition, less professional than the armed forces of most other western countries, including Israeli and UK special forces. I happen to think that this, however is a false claim, I think that the US military *are* professional enough to do their job knowing that homosexuals exist and serve alongside them.

  • Don,

    Straw man alert: the only person stating that Marines can’t do the job with gays is…YOU! And you still haven’t answered the question (either for that matter).

  • No.. that is what the Commondant General said “By and large, they say that they are concerned that it will cause potential problems with regard to their order and discipline”

    Problems with their order and discipline means that they would not be able to do the job properly.

  • Don,

    weak argument. By your reasoning a troop can’t express any concerns. And logically speaking, you are also saying that because the military has problems with order and discipline dealing with sexual assault, then we are currently unable to do our job. Telling troops to ‘just accept it’ is not a solution.

    Finally, do you have any answer to my questions, or do you just prefer to ignore them?

  • No.. they can express any opinion they like. But if someone says that they will have poor discipline and order as a result of gays existing in the same military, I will point out the consequence of that opinion. The militaries of most western countries can deal with the situation, but this guy is saying that the US Marines would not be able to deal with it. That says a great deal about his opinion of US Marines. It is not my opinion, I happen to think that US Marines are professional enough to cope with the existence of gays in their ranks at least as well as the SAS or Israeli special forces are.

    I am ignoring your questions, because this is not a conversation about me.

  • Dealer — I wouldn’t put too much stake in the internal review that is in progress and that is supposed to be scientific. RAND Corp did a $1.3 million dollar scientific study in 1993 and that one was hidden from the public because it didn’t say what the powers-that-be wanted it to say.

    It’s kinda dishearting that General Conway would try to pull the wool over our eyes by implying his non-scientifc study was a way to prove or sway that as many as 95% of US Marines would be uncomfortable serving with open homosexuals.

    I totally agree that the the G.I. Bill, or the new PT policy would be of greater concern. I would also think the suicide rate would be higher up on the concern meter than DADT, but I guess it’s not a political issue.

  • watchtower,

    The biggest emphasis I’ve seen in the AF is Sexual Assault Prevention, PT standards and suicide prevention, both home station and downrange. By in large, political issues are not typically discussed, and as such there isn’t much talk about DADT.

  • Who cares if a soldier, etc. is gay? Anyone who has issues with that must be wondering about his/her own insecurities.

    Let’s move forward as a nation that is why you fight and die.

  • louis,

    all soldiers give up some of their rights in order to have the honor of serving. One of those sacrifices is the fact you can be ordered to room and shower with someone that has different standards as you do. I’m sure there are other issues as well, but a lot of people who stand to be directly impacted care.

    Does this ruling impact you directly or is this an academic exercise for you?

  • And yet Israeli and British soldiers are able to cope with showering with gay men. Why is that?

  • Don,

    are you comfortable ordering someone to shower with an openly homosexual person?

  • As comfortable as I would be ordering a bigot to shower with a black man. If a US Marine is so scared of a gay person seeing his penis, then he is too much of a coward to be in the military in the first place. Again, I come back to the point, Israeli and British troops are grown up enough to deal with the situation, but for some reason the belief is that a US Marine will fall to pieces if a gay man sees his pee-pee.

  • Again, you’re making up your own argument. No one has said Marines are “scared” or will “fall to pieces” over this any more than they would over any other equivalently banned conduct.

    Do you really think the presence of an 18 year old woman living in open bay barracks with 20 other 18-20 year old men for three or four months during military basic training would have zero impact on either overall recruitment or the trainees themselves?

    You repeatedly bring up foreign military examples, yet you have failed to address the experience of a US military Chaplain serving with those foreign forces: He was threatened by the leadership of that military in the very way Chaplains have expressed concern they would be if DADT is repealed. Is that how you see a “grown up” military handling this?

    You’re answering the wrong question. It isn’t about whether anyone can “handle it.” The question is whether or not it is right.

  • Yes, that is the evidence of other countries. They have not shown any impact on recruitment since allowing gays to serve in their militaries.

  • Don,

    What makes you think that we have the same culture here that other countries have? Our culture is much more traditional than European countries in regards to sexuality, but is more permissive when expressing violence.

    Your argument states that the military should be completely neutral in regards to sexuality, but since you don’t like the logical extension of that statement. If you could handle the argument, you’d talk about it when questioned. Both JD and I have asked for your response on men and women living together, but you pretend we never asked. Who’s the coward now?

  • As a non-gay service member I am willing to say that I am not afraid of showing next to a gay man. The now-lifted ban on DADT will allow gay patriots to serve their country, not gay serial raping patriots. I think that people in general spend too much time demonizing what they don’t understand and not enough time examining why. The fact of the matter is that there are gays serving right now. Gay men and women have already died for your freedom to be a bigot. Let’s do them the honor they deserve and stop being so damn narrow minded.

  • BJL,

    What comments have you seen that are demonizing? I am different than you in that I am uncomfortable with the tolerance of openly gay troops. I am also staunchly opposed to the concept that I would be reprimanded for my views on sexuality – the act, not the desire, but the act.

    I’m confused on your statement about ‘examining why.’ What exactly should I be analyzing-why am I opposed to homosexual behavior? I know why, and if you ask me that question directly I’ll answer, but that would take time I don’t have at the moment.

    on a side note, thank you for your honestly in your two posts.