SAN DIEGO — With U.S. troops — including 20,000 Marines — locked in a "tough fight" in Afghanistan, now is not the time to lift the "don't ask, don't tell" ban on homosexuals serving openly in the military, the new commandant of the Marine Corps said Saturday.
Gen. James Amos told reporters in San Diego that he was concerned about a possible loss of unit cohesion and combat readiness if the ban is overturned.
"There's risk involved," Amos said. "I'm trying to determine how to measure that risk. This is not a social thing. This is combat effectiveness."
Amos, 63, assumed the commandant job two weeks ago, succeeding Gen. James Conway.
A Department of Defense review of the 1993 law is due to be completed Dec. 1. Meanwhile, the 9th U.S Circuit Court of Appeals has voted 2-1 to stay a trial judge's ruling that called for an immediate suspension of the law.
The Justice Department, at the urging of the Pentagon, had asked that the Oct. 12 ruling, by Judge Virginia Phillips, be blocked while appeals are filed.