Gay groups have asked for the
resignation of Marine Corps Commandant General James Amos for
suggesting that soldiers might die if Congress repeals “Don't Ask,
The nation's top Marine Corps officer
said on Tuesday that he could not endorse repeal of the law that bans
gay and bisexual troops from serving openly because the distraction
might endanger the lives of Marines in combat.
“Mistakes and inattention or
distractions cost Marines lives,” he told the Pentagon'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.”
In a brief statement released Tuesday,
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense
Network (SLDN), the largest group lobbying for repeal, called for
“General Amos needs to fall in line
and salute or resign now,” Sarvis wrote.
In his hour-long interview with
reporters, Amos said he concluded that repeal would be an
unacceptable distraction after reading a Pentagon report on how to
repeal the law. The report's survey of service members found that a
large majority (70 percent) would be OK if Congress ended the law,
but a majority (58%) of Marines serving in combat units opposed
“This was not a flippant,
rush-right-in preparation,” Amos said. “This was a very, very
deep, thoughtful – I read the report, the survey over and over
Amos also objected to repeal before the
report's public release.
In September, he said most Marines were
opposed to repeal, and
in an interview last month with the Los Angeles Times, he said
his objections to repeal stem from the risk involved.
“There's a risk involved,” Amos,
who assumed the helm in October from retiring General James Conway,
said. “I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is
not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness.”