Original Post on WSJ.com
A new video by top leaders of the Marine Corps called on service members to value "diversity" and to "faithfully implement" the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
The Marine Corps has the largest percentage of service members who are skeptical about allowing gays to serve openly, according to a Pentagon survey conducted last year. And shortly before Congress voted in December to repeal the 1993 law ban on gays serving openly, Marine Corps Commandant James Amos came out publicly strongly opposing the change.
In the new video, Gen. Amos said his service will "step out smartly" to comply with the new law.
"It is important that we value the diversity of background, culture and skills that all Marines bring to service of our nation," Gen. Amos said. "As we implement repeal, I want leaders at all levels to re-emphasize the importance of maintaining dignity and respect for one another through out the force."
Gen. Amos appeared with Sergeant Major Carlton Kent, the Marine's senior enlisted leader.
On Friday, senior Pentagon officials outlined some of the steps they are taking to prepare for repeal. Gays will be allowed to join the military 60 days after the president, the secretary of defense, and chairman of the joint chiefs of staff certify that changing the policy will not adversely impact the military.
Pentagon officials have not put a timeline on when the ban will be formally lifted, but President Barack Obama said in his State of the Union address that gays will begin to serve in the military this year.
On Sunday, organizations that lobbied to change the law and had previously issued statements critical of Gen. Amos, praised the video.
"The signal this video sends to all troops is profound: the Marines are now setting the pace to repeal ‘don't ask, don't tell' for all military branches," said Aaron Belkin, director of the Palm Center, a think tank at the University of California, Santa Barbara, that has spoken out against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."