SANTA BARBARA, CA — Remarks made yesterday at a Pentagon briefing by Marine Corps Commandant General James Conway signal the removal of one of the final hurdles to the implementation of openly gay service and the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.” Commandant Conway stated that “if the law changes, we pride our Corps in leading the services in many, many things, and we’re going to have to lead in this too.”
Palm Center Director Aaron Belkin stated, “Commandant Conway’s words are powerful. He has not been supportive of this change but he has now made clear that once the law is changed, the Marine Corps will set the pace for implementation of open service without delay.”
The General’s comments come as the Senate prepares for consideration of repeal in the FY2011 Defense Authorization bill in September. The Pentagon Working Group assigned to address the implementation of repeal is due to submit its report no later than December 1.
The Palm Center has noted that an affirmative non-discrimination policy on the basis of sexual orientation must be included in the Working Group’s recommendations.
“Liz Cheney, Commandant Conway, Colin Powell and Bill O’Reilly are prepared for openly gay troops to serve,” stated Palm Center Deputy Executive Director Christopher Neff. “Surely, this leaves only a few who will continue to ask tax-payers to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to fire good troops because they are gay or lesbian.”