Troops ask how repeal of gay ban will affect them
A meeting of US military personnel was held this week for them to question the impact of lifting the ban on out gay soldiers.
Around 350 soldiers were picked at random and assembled at the Pentagon on Tuesday.
They asked how sleeping arrangements and spouse benefits would be affected if the law was to be changed.
Currently, soldiers can be fired if their homosexuality becomes known to superiors. The law is also known as Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, as it prohibits superiors asking soldiers outright if they are gay.
US defence secretary Robert Gates announced earlier this month that he was implementing changes to stem discharges, such as disregarding anonymous outings and raising the bar of evidence needed to fire someone.
According to Associated Press, one female Marine at the meeting said that requiring a heterosexual female soldier to bunk with a lesbian would be equivalent to asking her to share a room with a man.
Another questioned whether gay soldiers’ spouses would be eligible for military benefits. Currently, this is against the law as it would require soldiers to out themselves.
When the audience was asked whether they believed they had served alongside a gay soldier, around half raised their hands.
A year-long review of the policy began in February, after President Barack Obama pledged to end it in his state of the union address.
An estimated 13,000 soldiers have been fired since the law came into effect in 1993.
The majority of military leaders who have spoken publicly about the law support its repeal. However, some oppose lifting the ban and say it will harm morale and recruitment, especially in the middle of two wars.
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