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04/19/2007


Lockheed Martin Cuts Off Boy Scouts Over Ban on Gay Leaders

U.S. aerospace, defense and security company Lockheed Martin has announced that it will cease donations to the Boy Scouts of America over its ban on gay leaders, the AP reports:

Lockheed Martin"We believe engaging with and funding an organization that openly discriminates is in conflict with our policies," [spokesman Gordon Johndroe] said. "While we applaud the mission of the Boy Scouts and the good things they do in our communities, their policies that discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and religious affiliation conflict with Lockheed Martin policies."

This year, the Irving, Texas-based Boy Scouts revised its policy to allow gay boys to participate in Scouting, but it maintained the ban on gay leaders. The change drew criticism from both sides of the debate over the anti-gay policy.

Johndroe said Lockheed Martin was pleased to see the Boy Scouts revise its membership policy but opposes the continued ban on gay leadership. The company's review of its philanthropy came at the end of the year as it reevaluates priorities for 2014, he said.

"We're taking a close look at all nonprofit organizations we support to ensure they align with our company's core values," Johndroe said.

Scouts for Equality founder Zach Wahls praised the company’s decision in an interview with Buzzfeed, saying that he hopes the news resonates with BSA leadership.

Zach Wahls“This is a big deal for two reasons,” Wahls told BuzzFeed. “First, it’s another clear sign of where the country’s business community is on this issue. And second, it’s particularly important given the ascendance of Bob Gates to the Boy Scouts executive board. He is taking over in May of 2014 and as a former secretary of defense, he has a unique relationship with Lockheed Martin. This says the issue is not going away.”


Former Defense Sec'y Robert Gates, Who Oversaw DADT Repeal, To Lead Boy Scouts of America

6a00d8341c730253ef0133f5cdbc82970b-800wiRobert Gates, former Secretary of Defense under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama, will be the next President of the Boys Scouts of America, replacing Wayne Perry, Imperial Valley News reports. Gates' role in dismantling the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that discriminated against openly gay service-members is being perceived by some as valuable experience to bring to an organization that has struggled with whether and how to accept openly gay members. Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts repealed their ban on openly gay scouts but not on openly gay scout leaders. Some are hopeful that will change under Gates' leadership:

Gay-rights groups praised Gates' appointment and called on him to push BSA a step further and allow gay leaders and adult volunteers.

"Millions of people and national corporations have called on the Boy Scouts to put an end to discrimination once and for all," GLAAD spokesman Wilson Cruz said. "We urge Dr. Gates to continue his work to ensure all people are treated equally, no matter who they are and no matter what uniform they wear."

Gates, a former Eagle Scout, has previously spoken of what he sees to be the values of scouting in today's society:

"At a time when many American young people are turning into couch potatoes, and too often much worse, Scouting continues to challenge boys and young men, preparing you for leadership," Gates said, according to a transcript of his remarks posted by the Department of Defense.


Officials: Gates Unlikely to Certify 'DADT' Repeal Before Retirement

Wtih Defense Secretary Robert Gates retiring on June 20, the Stars and Stripes reports that certification of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal is unlikely to happen before that happens

Gates Defense Secretary Robert Gates is unlikely to certify repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” before leaving office next week, senior defense and military officials said...

...Gay rights groups have for weeks been pushing for Gates to wrap up the process, concerned that his replacement, CIA director Leon Panetta, might wait several more months before moving forward. Now, with Gates’ retirement just days away, that’s becoming less realistic.

Final assessments on the progress of the training are due this Friday:

Those reports will help the Army chief of staff’s office compile its final recommendations on repeal, which the defense secretary and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen must review before certifying the change.


Defense Secretary Gates Suggests 'DADT' Repeal Could Be Certified This Month

In an interview with the AP, Defense Secretary Robert Gates suggested that "if the top officers of each service recommend moving ahead on the repeal before the end of the month" he would endorse it:

Gates The move to end the ban on gay services could be one of Gates’ final acts as defense chief.

More than a million U.S. troops have been trained on the new law that repealed the 17-year-old ban on gays serving openly in the armed services, and Gates said the instruction has gone well.

“I think people are pretty satisfied with the way this process is going forward,” he said. “I think people have been mildly and pleasantly surprised at the lack of pushback in the training.”

If the repeal is certified by the end of the months, troops could be serving openly as soon as September.


Defense Sec'y Gates Urged to Certify 'DADT' Repeal This Month as Reports Suggest Half of Military is Trained

Half the armed forces, more than a million U.S. troops, have been trained on repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell", according to the AP:

Iraq_gates Military officials say they see no adverse impact on the force so far....Pentagon officials say there’s been no widespread resistance; no mad rush for the door by those opposed, and — importantly — no drop in recruiting. Officials spoke on condition of anonymity because the Pentagon is still assessing when it will be ready to completely end the policy.

Advocates of open service are urging Defense Secretary Robert Gates to certify repeal before he retires at the end of the month, the Washington Blade reports:

Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said certification is essential this month before Gates leaves his duties at the Pentagon.

“I think that we need to get certification this month before Secretary Gates leaves,” Sarvis said. “My fear is we’re seeing an overabundance of caution here. If it doesn’t happen this month on Secretary Gates’ watch, I think we could easily be looking at another month or two before certification.”

Alex Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, said the passing the opportunity for implementing repeal would be a “very unwise” move for Gates and predicated that certification would happen this month.

The White House says it is not concerned about 'DADT' repeal and the arrival of a new Defense Secretary.

And Pam Spaulding posts a letter that Reps. Barney Frank, Tammy Baldwin, Jared Polis, and David Cicilline, the four openly gay members of Congress, have sent to President Obama urging him to make it clear that he would veto any Defense bill that comes his way from the Senate containing language intended to undermine repeal of 'DADT'.

Says the letter:

"But because this issue is so important in so many ways, we think it would be the best course for you to reaffirm your strong support of the end of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" by making it explicit that you would veto a bill in the unlikely event that it came to you, which undermined the decision that you led us to make last year - namely a military that does not discriminate unfairly and does not turn away patriotic, productive Americans seeking to serve their country."

Read the full letter at Pam's House Blend.


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 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.


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