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Officers want to maintain gay soldiers policy

WASHINGTON — Top Navy and Marine Corps officers said Wednesday that they oppose a moratorium on discharges of openly gay military personnel.

"I would encourage you to either change the law or not," said Gen. James Conway, the Marine Corps commandant. "But half measures will only be confusing in the end."

Some Democrats in Congress are pushing for a moratorium on discharges of gays and lesbians while the military studies the effects of a wholesale change in the law.

Both Conway and Adm. Gary Roughead, the chief of naval operations, said they support the effort to study the effects of lifting the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the armed forces.

"There has never really been an assessment of the force that serves," Roughead said. "Equally important is the feelings of the families that support that force."

As part of the 1993 law creating the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, the Pentagon is required to remove service members who admit they are gay or are determined to be gay after accusations. More than 14,000 service members have been booted out for those reasons.

Earlier this month, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he supported ending the ban.

Officers want to maintain gay soldiers policy 02/24/10 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 24, 2010 10:44pm]
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