Top Marine officer Gen. James F. Amos has admitted that, despite his fears, the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell has not caused the destruction of the Marines.
Last year, Amos said there was "risk involved" in allowing gay Marines to serve openly. He explained,
There is nothing more intimate than young men and young women –- and when you talk of infantry, we're talking our young men –- laying out, sleeping alongside of one another and sharing death, fear and loss of brothers. I don't know what the effect of that will be on cohesion. I mean, that's what we're looking at. It's unit cohesion, it's combat effectiveness.
In an AP interview, he now says that so far, the effect on cohesion has been virtually nil. At a series of a dozen town hall meetings with Marines last week, Amos was asked just once about DADT, and that question was pretty minor. Of the repeal, he says, "I'm very pleased with how it has gone." Amos also described an incident wherein a lesbian Marine and her partner introduced themselves to his wife Bonnie at the Marines' birthday ball:
Bonnie just looked at them and said, 'Happy birthday ball. This is great. Nice to meet you.' That is happening throughout the Marine Corps.
Yes, throughout the Marine Corps, people are meeting gay couples and refraining from spitting in their faces. In all seriousness, this is something of a big deal for the Marines, 45% of whom were against repealing DADT (of those in combat roles, the figure was 56%). In June, a Marine told Defense Secretary Robert Gates that the repeal threatened the culture of the Marine Corps, which he said had "a set of standards and values that is better than that of the civilian sector." However, that's just as good an argument for why the Corps should be able to accept openly gay Marines. If they can risk their lives defending our country, can't they bring themselves to work with gay soldiers? At least so far, the answer appears to be yes.