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.”

The military said on Friday that its plan for implementing repeal would stress respect and professionalism.