News: H&S Bn. Conducts Don’t ask, Don’t Tell repeal training
Story by Sgt. Christopher Zahn
QUANTICO, Va. - Marines from Headquarters and Service Battalion completed the Marine Corps tier three DADT repeal training May 23.
The training was done to ensure Marines comply with the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act, signed by President Barack Obama on Feb. 22, 2010, which laid the foundation for the repeal of the military’s DADT policy.
The law is slated to be repealed 60 days after the president, secretary of defense and the chairman of the joint chiefs of staff certify to Congress the law requirements have been met.
Before the law can be repealed, every member of the DOD has to go undergo training as stated in Marine Administrative Message 108/11.
Tier three training is for Marines, sailors assigned to Marine units, and civilian supervisors. Commanders and senior enlisted advisors down to the battalion/squadron/detachment level will conduct the tier three training of their Marines, sailors, and civilian supervisors.
The hour-long class is designed to educate Marines on what policies would change after the repeal of DADT, allowing individuals to serve in the military regardless of sexual orientation. But the class also stressed that all service members should treat each other with dignity and respect.
“We do that every day, we live that,” said Col. Jay Johnson, the H&S Bn. commanding officer. “From the day you transform from civilian to Marine, you understand about treating each other with dignity and respect.”
During the class, questions were raised about billeting for gay, lesbian and bisexual Marines alongside straight Marines, what benefits a same-sex partner would receive, and how service member’s with religious beliefs are expected to act.
After repeal, billeting assignments will not be made with regard to sexual orientation but commanders have the option to reassign roommates on a case-by-case basis.
A Marine who marries a person of the same gender, however, will not receive extra benefits, such as Base Allowance for Housing “with dependent,” because a same-sex partner does not qualify under the Defense of Marriage Act.
Marines retain the right to their religious beliefs, but their conduct must remain professional and they must treat fellow Marines with dignity and respect.
“Sexual orientation is not a subject that just comes up in regular conversation,” said Lance Cpl. Christina Monti, a legal clerk for the battalion. “You don’t treat someone different for being a male or female, black or white, so why would sexual orientation make you treat anyone different?”
The class also gives leadership at all levels the guidance needed to continue to do their jobs as leaders of Marines.
“This training prepares me to tackle any difficulties or leadership challenges that may be coming in the future,” said Sgt. Craig Taylor, the base color sergeant. “It provides the guidance I need to tell my Marines what’s right and wrong.”
The Marine Corps is expected to have every Marine tier three trained by May 31, but, until the repeal is complete, the current DADT policies remain in place.