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By Marine4Life51 - Posted on 22 November 2010
Thank you for sharing this. This is an excellent piece. The report on repeal of DADT will be issued a day early (Nov. 30) and hearings will begin right after that. I hope it is enough time to reverse this policy in the lame duck. With the pattern of stalling, it would not surprise me if Republicans disappoint on this once again. But I am trying to be hopeful. Does anyone know what the "hearings" will consist of? I hope it involves servicemen like the man spoken of in this article telling their story. Why do we have to check one's sexual oreientation before declaring them a hero or allowing them to serve our country?
The key to reconciling Marine culture with the open service of gay men
and women will not be found among the rank and file or even among
closeted service members; it must come from Corps leaders. Most research
on how to integrate minority groups into the military has a common
thread: the utmost importance of leadership to the process. The fact
that the current and prior Marine commandants have expressed discomfort
at the prospect of the demise of "don't ask, don't tell" is unfortunate
because the generals risk creating a self-fulfilling prophecy, hurting
the Corps they desire to protect.
"Don't ask, don't tell" will be reversed in time. And as the military
survey indicates, a majority of the Corps does not see a risk in the
repeal. How the change affects the Marines is up to the leadership. A
Marine officer once told me that, besides all Marines being riflemen and
riflewomen, what sets them apart is discipline: "If the law changes,"
he said, "we will comply with the law. You can take that to the bank."
I believe he's right. The United States Marine Corps is the most
professional force in the world. There is no reason to think that it
will be less adept at integrating gays than Britain, Canada or Australia
(just three of the 26 countries that allow gays and lesbians to serve
openly, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network).
The current leadership should look to a fellow Marine for guidance.
Staff Sgt. Eric Alva stepped on a landmine and lost his right leg only
three hours into ground operations in Iraq in 2003; he was the first
service member to be wounded there. He also happens to be gay. Alva
received a medical discharge and has gone on to work for the repeal of
"don't ask, don't tell." At an event in 2007, he came out publicly,
saying, "I'm an American who fought for his country and for the
protection and the rights and freedoms of all American citizens - not
just some of them, but all of them."
The Marine Corps leadership should not only accept such sacrifices but
honor those who make them. The Corps' motto, "semper fidelis," means
"always faithful." There is no qualifier for sexual orientation. Once a
Marine, always a Marine.
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