Regarding Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

Recently Secretary of Defense Gates met with some Marines. An unnamed Marine Sergeant asked if a Marine could opt out of their enlistment because “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was being repealed.

This is a letter to that unnamed Marine Sergeant who asked if a Marine could opt out of their enlistment because “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” was being repealed. The Sergeant identified a shift in morality of the Corps and the possibility that their personal morality might not be willing to make that change.

Um, what shift in Morality?

Marines define their morality through their core values. They share the core values of Honor, Courage and Commitment. Nowhere in those values is sexuality mentioned.

For longer than most current Marines have been on active duty there have been gay Marines. The Corps allows for them under the current rules and they are treated exactly like every other Marine as long as they don’t discuss their sexuality. These gay Marines are indistinguishable from the other members of the Corps and have faced the same danger and sometimes died serving with Honor, Courage and Commitment.

I could argue that there have been gay Marines for as long as there have been Marines. It’s not like homosexuality is a new discovery.

So I have to ask: What is going to change when your fellow Marines, whose sexuality will not change, gain the freedom to speak more openly about who they are? You’re still Marines. The Marine’s that I’ve known and served with while I was in the Air Force at EUCOM were not particularly touchy-feely in their conversation. I suspect that is a Marine attitude and has little to do with sexuality. So, not a whole lot is going to change.

The singular change is that you will be less ignorant. You will be aware of a little bit more about some of your fellow Marines. You might not want to know. I certainly didn’t want to hear about some unnamed Corporal’s activities while he went to Italy for a long weekend. We all learn things we don’t care to know and we go on, mostly not caring, realizing that what they did over the weekend won’t affect their duties as long as they got enough rest and didn’t drink themselves into a coma.

Please do not take offense and assume that because you will be less ignorant that I am referring to your ignorance in any negative or pejorative way. Ignorance is nothing more than a lack of information. It is only a negative when that ignorance is willful and deliberate.

Or did I just describe your state of being under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?”


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