Troops opposed to repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" cannot opt out of their service because they disagree with gays and lesbians serving openly. Defense Secretary Robert Gates made the announcement during his farewell trip to Afghanistan, reports Reuters.
"Sir, we joined the Marine Corps because the Marine Corps has a set of standards and values that is better than that of the civilian sector. And we have gone and changed those values and repealed the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy," the sergeant told Gates during the question and answer session.
"We have not given the Marines a chance to decide whether they wish to continue serving under that. Is there going to be an option for those Marines that no longer wish to serve due to the fact their moral values have not changed?" he asked.
"No," Gates responded. "You'll have to complete your ... enlistment just like everybody else. The reality is that you don't all agree with each other on your politics, you don't agree with each other on your religion, you don't agree with each other on a lot of things," he added. "But you still serve together. And you work together. And you look out for each other. And that's all that matters."
The U.S. Army just launched a DADT repeal micro-site with FAQ, policy guidance, vignettes and implementation planning resources.
In related news: Open service advocates are urging Gates to certify "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal before his June 30 retirement.
"Waiting for certification after Gates retires, advocates said, could further delay repeal because Leon Panetta, the incoming defense secretary who currently serves as CIA director, may want to examine the issue further before signaling the military is ready for open service," reports Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade.