Military personnel trained for tolerance

By Omar Guzman |Staff Writer|

Nearly five months after the U.S. Senate repealed  the “Don’t ask don’t tell” (DADT) law, leaders of all four military services announced that training for the tolerance and acceptance of the new law dealing with gays and lesbians serving in the military is underway and going well.

“I was happy when it got repealed; it was about time for gay and lesbians to serve openly in the military. But it should not have been a policy in the first place, because there was no statistical evidence for it to have been made a law,” said Amaris Simmons, a student assistant of the Pride Center.
One of the most controversial laws is slowly, but effectively, coming to an end as people embrace the new law that will allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
According to the U.S. Army, “The change will not take effect until 60 days after the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Secretary of Defense, and President certify the military’s readiness to implement the repeal.”
Training among the nation’s 2.2 million service members to prepare for the repeal of the DADT law began in February.

“The training is basically Lieutenant Colonels taking us to a class setting to explain to us what major changes will happen and what will stay the same, “said Stephen Jensen, with the CSUSB Reserve Officers’ Training Course.

“For those who have an issue with the repeal, they can only complain, but they cannot do anything about it since they signed a contract which means they have to respect any change in policy,” he added.

U.S. Marine Col. Rudolph Janiczek stressed the importance of what would and wouldn’t change, adding that they will be free to be who they are, clearly stating that they shall not be allowed to infringe on other people’s rights, he was quoted in The Los Angeles Times.

Similar briefing sessions are made throughout the nation and at bases in Iraq and Afghanistan to make sure that everyone gets the message especially those who were opposed to the DADT law repeal, according to the U.S. Army.
“Most people in San Bernardino are handling the change fine, there is almost no one who really has an issue with the new policy,” said Jensen.

Once the new law takes effect, all service members will not have to be asked about their sexual orientation, and an open expression or embrace of gay or lesbian behavior will no longer be actions that constitute for being dismissed from the service.

Although gays and Lesbians will not have to hide their sexual orientation any longer, same-sex couples will still have to follow the same rules as straight couples.
This includes no hand-holding on base, no physical displays of affection in public, even when off base and wearing civilian clothing.
According to The Los Angeles Times, same-sex partners will not be eligible to live in family housing or to receive dependent health benefits because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act, which defines marriage as between a man and a woman.

The zero-tolerance policy on sexual harassment also remains in effect.



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