Gates Tells Marines They Can’t Resign over DADT
In an unusual display of public candor (given the current environment on opposition to DADT repeal), a US Marine directly asked Secretary of Defense Robert Gates if those with moral opposition to homosexuality could resign:
“Sir, we joined the Marine Corps because the Marine Corps has a set of standards and values that is better than that of the civilian sector. And we have gone and changed those values and repealed the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy,” the sergeant told Gates during the question and answer session.
“We have not given the Marines a chance to decide whether they wish to continue serving under that. Is there going to be an option for those Marines that no longer wish to serve due to the fact their moral values have not changed?” he asked.
Despite Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen’s prior statements that those who disagreed could vote with their feet, Gates had a fairly blunt answer to the enlisted Marine:
“No,” Gates responded. “You’ll have to complete your…enlistment just like everybody else.”
“The reality is that you don’t all agree with each other on your politics, you don’t agree with each other on your religion, you don’t agree with each other on a lot of things,” he added. “But you still serve together. And you work together. And you look out for each other. And that’s all that matters.”
The Defense Secretary used similar language in defending the change:
“If we do this right, nothing will change,” he said. “You will still have to abide by the same rules of behavior, the same discipline, the same respect for each other that has been the case through all the history of the Marine Corps.”
As the Marine tried to point out, however, something has changed — “the standards and values” of the Marine Corps and the US military as a whole. Despite repeated attempts at equivalency, such a cultural upheaval has no comparison in politics or religion.