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US military now accepting gay soldiers

Pentagon appeals decision to reverse “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy banning openly gay recruits.

Image: AP Photo/J Pat Carter

GAY RECRUITS WILL now be accepted into the US Military after a California judge struck down the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy barring openly gay people from service last week.

Judge Virginia Phillips had been asked to reinstate the ban temporarily while the Pentagon appeals the decision, but  refused the request yesterday, the BBC reports.

At least two members who were discharged under the 17-year old policy have now begun the process of re-enlisting, Al-Jazeera reports.

But the BBC further reports that the US Army Recruiting Command are advising new recruits who are open about being gay that the legal stance of their recruitment could change.

“If they were to self admit that they are gay and want to enlist, we will process them for enlistment, but will tell them that the legal situation could change.”

Groups representing Gays and Lesbians have also said that they advise against new recruits coming out while the Pentagon’s legal challenge remains. The Executive Director for the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network told CNN “if you come out now, it can be used against you in the future by the Pentagon.”

During this interim period of uncertainty, service members must not come out and recruits should use caution if choosing to sign up

Commandant of the Marine Corps General James Conway told USA Today that most Marines oppose the reversal of the ban, and that opposition to the reversal was not restricted to more experience Marines.

My observation when we survey our Marines is that you’re as likely to have Pfc’s and lance corporals shoot their hand in the air when you ask the question about unit cohesion or good order and discipline (suffering) as you are the crusty old master sergeant.

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