Gates: Troops Who Disagree with Military Policy on Gays Must Complete Enlistment 'Like Everybody Else'
Defense Secretary Robert Gates told Marines in Afghanistan that troops won't be able to opt-out of their enlistment just because they disagree with gays serving openly in the military.
Gates made the remarks on a farewell trip to Afghanistan, Reuters reports:
"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 And we have gone and changed those values and repealed the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy," the sergeant told Gates during the question and answer session.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 recently launched a 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' website with narration, scripts, frequently asked questions, vignettes, DoD policy guidance, implementation plans and service-specific material.