MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. --
Gays and lesbians may openly serve in the military, due to the recent repeal of Title 10 of the U.S. Code, Section 654, more commonly known as the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law. The DADT law, established in 1993, allowed gays to serve as long as they kept their sexual orientation private. The repeal, enacted through a congressional bill in December, went into effect Sept. 20, after the DOD certified that current military members have been trained to adjust to the new policy.
President Barack Obama certified to Congress on July 22 that the U.S. Armed Forces have “prepared the necessary policies and regulations” to effectuate repeal and that implementation of these policies and regulations is consistent with the standards of military readiness, military effectiveness, unit cohesion, and recruiting and retention of the Armed Forces. A 60-day waiting period was then enacted before the new policy took effect.
“We have all been trained and without a doubt we are going to continue to execute our mission without missing a step,” said Lt. Col. Samuel Mowery, commanding officer of Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron, Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point.
Three tiers of training were required for completion: Tier 1 for expert level special staff personnel, Tier 2 for leadership level personnel such as officer in charge and staff noncommissioned officer in charge billets, and Tier 3 for all service members.
“Leaders must set the example by being fully committed to sustaining unit effectiveness, readiness, and cohesion, and maintaining good order and discipline,” said Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James F. Amos. According to Marine Corps ALMAR 036/11 released Tuesday, Amos stated: “We have completed the training required, and made necessary changes to regulations and policies to effectively and efficiently implement the repeal and conform with its mandate. I am confident all Marines will faithfully abide by and uphold the law.”
The commandant’s guiding principles for implementation included: leadership matters most, treat each other with dignity and respect, sexual orientation is a personal and private matter, Marines will not be required to change their personal views and religious beliefs, and all Marines will be held to the same standards of conduct.
For the most part, Marines will see little difference in their work environment as a result of the new policy. As before, there will be no collection of sexual orientation information, and there will not be separate billeting, special medical policies or special duty assignments for gay and lesbian service members. The existing standards of conduct will continue to apply to all Marines, regardless of sexual orientation – and all Marines are expected to uphold the Corps’ high standards.
“We already took a full step in the right direction,” said Sgt. Maj. Jerry Bailey, sergeant major of MCAS Cherry Point. “We have been following orders since the guidance from our leaders came out and we are going to continue to move on and fight wars the Marine Corps way.”
Amos’ message to his Marines was clear. “I expect all Marines will continue to treat each other with dignity and respect. These fundamental Marine Corps principles have not changed nor will they change. The Marine Corps will continue to demonstrate the discipline and loyalty that has been the hallmark of our Corps for over 235 years.”