Friday, April 29, 2011
Marines get trained on accepting gay recruits
Marine instructor Maj. Daryl Desimone stood before an auditorium filled with fatigue-clad troops, carrying an unequivocal message: It's OK to disagree with letting gays serve openly in the military. It's not OK to disobey orders.
He explained that the impending repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" is an order, one heard by generals and rank-and-file alike as the military tries to change the culture of a traditionally conservative institution.
Only a few of the roughly 150 Marines stepped up to ask questions.
One stood up from a back row and demanded to know why his religious beliefs were being "put aside" in favor of gays, forcing him to "basically grit my teeth and bear it."
"It's not really open to discussion," Desimone said. "Nobody's trying to change your mind."
Sexual orientation will now be a private matter, just like religion or politics, he said.
Sgt. Jay Milinichik of Tulsa, Okla., stood up to ask what would happen if a Marine refused gay roommates.
Marines won't have separate barracks or showers based on sexual orientation, Desimone said. He added that signing up for the Marines comes with an expectation of less privacy.
There is nothing wrong with "hanging around" a gay bar, the training materials state.
The officer who witnesses the loud locker-room banter aimed at gays and lesbians should remind the Marines any discrimination or harassment is inappropriate.
If a Marine spots two men in his battalion kissing off-duty at a shopping mall, he should react as if he were seeing a man and woman, according to the training materials.