Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos has backed away from statements that repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” would cost Marines lives.

The policy that for 18 years banned gay and bisexual troops from serving openly was officially lifted in September.

Speaking to The Associated Press, Amos said implementation had gone smoothly and that U.S. Marines had embraced the change.

“I'm very pleased with how it has gone,” Amos said, adding that not once was he asked in Afghanistan about the policy's end.

Using an anecdote about a female Marine introducing her lesbian partner to his wife, Bonnie, at a ball celebrating the birth of the Marine Corps, Amos noted that Marines were taking the change in stride.

“Bonnie just looked at them and said, 'Happy birthday ball. This is great. Nice to meet you,'” Amos said. “That is happening throughout the Marine Corps.”

Amos had previously objected to repeal of the law, going so far as to suggest that the distraction of openly gay troops might endanger the lives of Marines in combat.

“Mistakes and inattention or distractions cost Marines lives,” he said during an interview with the military's Stars and Stripes. “That's the currency of this fight.”

“I take that very, very seriously,” Amos added. “I don't want to lose any Marines to that distraction. I don't want to have any Marines that I'm visiting at Bethesda [National Naval Medical Center, in Maryland] with no legs be the results of any type of distraction.”