Military Indicates It's Willing To Consider Separate Facilities For Straight Troops Made Uneasy By DADT Repeal

Last summer, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morell suggested, and then strongly denied, that the military was considering segregating gay and lesbian servicemembers when Don't Ask Don't Tell is repealed. A look at the Pentagon's Friday appeal suggests that they really are.

In July, Morrell held a conference call with reporters to discuss accusations that the survey the military was conducting of its troops about DADT contained inappropriate questions and used he bias-engendering term "homosexuals."In the course of the discussion, he added this:

In response to questions from reporters, Morrell clarified that the survey responses could lead the military to conclude that it would "perhaps need adjustments to facilities themselves," indicating that it is not outside the realm of possibility that, in order to preserve the privacy and modesty of heterosexual service members in group showers and barracks, the military would consider segregating gay and lesbian service members in some way.

That, of course, engendered rather a lot of controversy, leading Morrell to deny that his statement implied any such thing:

MORRELL:This could be dealt with through education programs, through training programs, or it may require "facilities adjustments." But no one, no one is considering "separate but equal" bathing or living facilities for you know, gay and straight troops. That's just not ever a consideration.

Q: So that's off the table.

MORRELL: Absolutely off the table.

But in late August, Marine Corps Commandant Gen. James Conway suggested that, in fact, the military was considering segregated facilities... for straight servicemembers.

Conway said the Marines may make such housing arrangements "voluntary" to accommodate any "moral concerns." He said many Marines are "very religious" and because of their moral concerns "don't want to room" with homosexuals.

That's, like, totally different, right?

Today, the New York Times noted that both Defense Secretary Robert Gates and under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness Clifford Stanley have suggested that some changes in housing to accommodate the more conservative elements in the military are, indeed, under consideration.

Clifford Stanley, the under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness, said in a court filing that ending the antigay policy would require training, and reworking regulations on issues like housing, benefits and standards of conduct. He said the Army had to consider the "rights and obligations of the chaplain corps." Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said the military had to consider whether barracks should be segregated and whether partners of gay soldiers should have benefits.

So now you know: the military isn't going to create a separate-but-equal system for gay and lesbian troops. They're considering a voluntary system for straight-identified troops to opt out of certain living arrangements with the gay and lesbians among them. Because that's totally different.

Pentagon Slams Critics Of Don't Ask Don't Tell Survey [Talking Points Memo]
Pentagon Survey On Don't Ask Don't Tell Now Available: Raises Questions About Pentagon Priorities [Talking Points Memo]
Pentagon Pushes Back Against Claim That DADT Survey Could Lead To Segregation Of Gay Troops [ThinkProgress]
Marine Corps Commandant Conway Reiterates: Marines Should Not Have To Share Quarters With Gay Troops [ThinkProgress]
Don't Stay the ‘Don't Ask' Ruling [New York Times]

[H/T To Pam's House Blend]