Outgoing Marine Corps Commandant
General James T. Conway said Friday that 95 percent of Marines would
be uncomfortable serving alongside openly gay service members.
Conway made his remarks in an
interview with Fox News after
Pentagon officials announced they would comply with a federal court's
ruling ordering it to stop enforcing “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the
1993 law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly.
“When we take a survey of our
Marines, by and large, they say that they are concerned that it will
cause potential problems with regard to their order and disciple –
that it will impact their sense of unit cohesion,” Conway said.
Citing impromptu surveys he has
conducted by a “show of hands” among Marines at town hall
meetings, Conway said “90 to 95 percent of the Marines” are
against repeal of the Clinton-era policy.
Conway has previously suggested that
the Marines would consider separate quarters for gay service members
if Congress repeals the policy, explaining that Marines don't want to
bunk with gay service members because they are “very religious.”
The four-star general made similar
comments in an interview with Military.com:
“We want to continue [two-person rooms], but I would not ask our
Marines to live with someone who is homosexual if we can possibly
“And to me that means we have to
build BEQs [bachelor enlisted quarters] and have single rooms,” he
Conway also agreed with Secretary
of Defense Robert M. Gates, who said on Wednesday that Congress, not
a court, is responsible for ending the law.
“I think we wold be much more
comfortable, if it's going to change, it comes as a result of the
change to the law, not an independent judicial determination in a
district somewhere in California,” he said Friday.
Despite his opposition, Conway has
previously said that if the law is repealed, the Marines would not
hesitate to “implement it and move on.”