Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Malta Today: US Military to accept openly gay recruits
Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Openly gay American recruits can now sign up to play soldier - following a federal court ruling striking down the "don't ask, don't tell" law, under the caution that they can still be discharged should the ruling be overturned.

A Pentagon memo signed by Clifford Stanley, undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness, gave gay recruits the green light to begin the enrollment processes but should be told what could lie in store as "a certain amount of uncertainty now exists about the future of the 'don't ask, don't tell' law."

He stated that, "during the process, they (recruiters) will say, 'You have to be mindful that this could be overturned.'" In reaction, the Marine Corps issued a directive to recruiters Tuesday to the effect that "homosexual conduct, by itself, is not currently considered a bar to accession."

Advocates for repealing the policy warned gays interested in serving to be cautious, warning them against “coming out now” in case it can be used against them by the Pentagon in the future - said the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Gen. James Conway, commandant of the Marine Corps, has said most Marines oppose reversing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, which permits gays to serve as long as they are not open about their homosexuality. Critics have slammed reversing the policy because it could hurt the effectiveness of troops during war. Conway added that opposition to homosexuals serving openly is particularly strong within combat units.

On the memo, Pentagon spokeswoman Cynthia Smith, said the suspension of "don't ask, don't tell" is in response to the September 9 decision of a central California federal judge that ruled the law implemented under President Clinton in 1993 was unconstitutional.

The judge, Virginia Phillips, on Tuesday denied a government request to delay her order, media reported. The Justice Department said the Obama administration will appeal to the appellate court in San Francisco.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates was also reported to have ordered a task force to investigate the consequences of repealing the policy. Results are due on December 1. President Obama supports legislation to end the policy.

[Click on the hyperlink above to view the comments on Malta Today's website.]

No comments:

Post a Comment