August 28, 2012 at 8:46 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Top U.S. Marine: Openly gay servicemembers not an issue
Gay News, Washington Blade, Gay Soldiers

Commandant Gen. James Amos speaks at the National Press Club (Blade photo by Jonathan Ellis)

The head of the U.S. Marine Corps on Tuesday stressed that the integration of openly gay and lesbians into the military has gone smoothly.

“I don’t think there is a problem,” said Commandant Gen. James Amos during a National Press Club luncheon in downtown Washington. “I don’t see it. I don’t hear about it.”

Amos’ comments come nearly a year after the repeal of the Pentagon’s ban on openly gay and lesbian servicemembers officially took effect. He told the Senate Armed Services Committee during his 2010 confirmation hearing that he opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” LGBT rights groups later blasted Amos for suggesting that openly gay and lesbian servicemembers would prove a distraction that would lead to further loses on the battlefield. He stressed, however, that the Marines would implement the policy if ordered to do so.

“We obey orders,” said Amos. “We do that better than anybody does and we have.”

He again noted that he doesn’t “even get a question” about openly gay and lesbian servicemembers from subordinates and other Marines.

“I don’t hear anything,” said Amos. “I’m not seeing anything at all, so I’m very pleased with how it’s turned out. I’m very proud of the Marines.”

Zeke Stokes of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network welcomed Amos’ comments.

“It was gratifying to hear General Amos once again affirm his view that the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ has proceeded smoothly,” he told the Blade. “His comments certainly reflect what is happening across the services.  Now it’s time for us to take the next step and ensure that all service members and their families are treated equally.”

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • Ever since I was 14-years-old, my political outrage over useless war has always been motivated by what I saw happen to the young people as patriotic warriors who came back home forever changed, forever somehow “darkened” to life back here stateside by what they had to live through overseas. I always have been and always will be a proponent for the millions of honorable American troops who take oaths to not only obey their superiors, but also to temper that with their paramount oath to preserve, protect and defend the US Constitution and the welfare of the American people. When African-American patriots served according to these same oaths, it was by a direct order of Our American Commander-in-Chief, President Truman, that they should be honored by a status of equality in their military service, a “luxury” then denied them in most of their home states. We LGBT Americans stand now upon the shoulders of those first granted equality under Military Justice, while we work towards the fullest of our Constitutionally guaranteed civil rights in each and every State of this American Union of “We the People” governed by an ingenious Constitution that has led all of us toward a future of universal Equality Under The Law, as inscribed above the entrance to Our Supreme Court of the United States. The “elasticity” and vibrant promise of the Constitution will someday soon extend to all Americans, but not without the hard work of active citizenship needed to address the wrongs endured by so many nonetheless proud Americans who wish to be fully free in this great country. Thank you to all who love this America enough to fight the good fight to include all Americans as brave equals, and as welcomed citizens who realize that no one is truly free here in America until all of their fellow citizens are fully free as well.

  • My parents told me the Holy Bible says Homosexuality is wrong.

    • According to the Bible, so is mixing fabrics (Leviticus 19:19), getting your hair cut (Leviticus 19:27), interacting with a woman on her period (Leviticus 15:19-24), or growing more than 1 type of crop in the same field (Leviticus 19:19 again). But murder (Exodus 35:2) and slavery (Exodus 21:7) are OK. Maybe you should get your social mores from something more modern, instead of two contradictory books (Old and New Testament). After all, the New Testament was basically assembled by committee, and we all know how committees work: none of us is as dumb as all of us!

      Moral of the story, get your social cues from modern society and not from some dusty old book that you pick and choose what to follow from anyway!

    • @waters Moe, Your parents were no doubt good people who took the Bible quite seriously. In response i would say to you. Jesus Christ lived on the earth for over 30 yrs. In that time he told people to love one another. And never to anybody’s knowledge spoke to the issue of homosexuality, which was a very common practive in the world at the time..Homosexuality has been with us from the beginning and I believe will be with us at the end..And only then will we know the answer to this age old question. Regards..

    • Unless your not trollin.. One day you’ll be able to make decisions for yourself and hopefully you’ll realize it’s something that happens naturally to almost all animals on Earth and no man or merciful god can make that a sin. If God made everyone the way we are, why would he condemn any of us because of who and what we are? After all God is supposed to love all of his children and as long your on the right direction you’ll be alright. God won’t take us to places if it wasn’t for our own good. I hope one day you understand.

    • well someone needs to tell you to think for your self and stop following a book written and rewritten by man .. enjoy mindless conformity

  • Great news! But, “openly gay and lesbians”? There are a number of acceptable ways to say what I think you mean:

    “openly gay men and women”
    “openly gay servicemembers”
    “openly gay and lesbian servicemembers”

  • I’m glad that he believes that it is going smoothly; I do hope he has checked in with his subordinates on whether that they have had any problems with it.
    I also hope that our military can set an example of acceptance.

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