Marine Corps Commandant General James
Amos has recorded a video urging service members to “respect the
rights” of gay troops as the military prepares to implement repeal
of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 17-year-old law that bans gay and
bisexual troops from serving openly.
In the two-minute-fifty-six-second
video, Amos appears alongside Sergeant Major Carlton W. Kent, the
commander's senior enlisted adviser.
Amos tells his troops that “we will
step out smartly to faithfully implement this new law.”
“As we implement repeal, I want
leaders at all levels to reemphasize the importance of maintaining
dignity and respect for one another throughout our force. We are
marines. We care for one another and respect the rights of all who
wear this uniform. We will continue to demonstrate to the American
people that discipline and fidelity, which have been the hallmarks of
the United States Marine Corps for more than 235 years, will continue
well into the future,” Amos says. (The video is embedded in the
right panel of this page.)
Previously, the nation's top Marine
Corps officer had testified before Congress against repeal and in an
interview with the military's Stars and Stripes he said he
could not endorse repeal of the law because the distraction might
endanger the lives of Marines in combat.
“Mistakes and inattention or
distractions cost Marines lives,” he said. “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.”
military said on Friday that its plan for implementing repeal would
stress respect and professionalism.