Tag Archives: DADT

A tale of two Dans: From evangelical soldiers to LGBT activists

Close friends while attending the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, Dan Choi and Dan Manning were heavily involved in the campus’ evangelical Christian ministry. They even made a missionary trip together to the Dominican Republic in 2001.

Although neither man knew it at the time, they were both closeted gays.

Earlier this month, Choi (West Point class of 2003), an internationally known LGBT civil rights activist, and Equality Wisconsin board co-president Manning (class of 2004) had a brief reunion in Milwaukee after Choi accepted his friend’s invitation to be the guest speaker at a groundbreaking joint fundraiser for Equality Wisconsin and Fair Wisconsin. The event, held on a Monday evening at a private home on the city’s East Side, raised $17,000 to be divided between the two groups.

Choi had also planned to stump for Manning in Fond du Lac, where the latter was waging what turned out to be a successful campaign to become the city’s first out gay city council member. A manufacturing engineer at Giddings and Lewis, Inc., Manning also is the founder of Salute the Troops, an organization that benefits Wisconsin veterans. 

Choi was unable to help his pal on the campaign trail, however. He had to cut his trip short when he learned that after two years of legal battles stemming from his arrest during a 2010 White House protest, his case was finally proceeding to a conclusion.

Parallel lives

Although the two friends’ lives followed parallel paths in many ways, their experiences have been very different.

Manning, who grew up in Vidalia, Ga., said he secretly dated another man outside the campus community during his freshman and sophomore years at West Point.

“I was trying to rationalize it, and I said to myself that I must be bisexual – surely I wasn’t gay,” he said, laughing. He said there were a handful of other gay cadets he knew on campus – all of them closeted. The unofficial leader of the secret network was given the honorific title of “queen bee,” Manning added.

Choi said he was shocked when he learned about all this activity years later. The son of a Southern Baptist minister from Orange County, Calif., Choi described himself as “completely closeted” during his West Point years. He said he followed a philosophy best described as “don’t ask, don’t tell, don’t listen.” His fear of exposure was so acute that he wouldn’t even utter the word “gay” or listen to talk about the issue.

“I just thought it was a phase or something that a demonic exercise could cure me of,” Choi said.

Manning later joined the Service Academy Gay and Lesbian Alumni Association Network, which is an umbrella organization for the groups KnightsOut (U.S. Military Academy), USNAOut (Naval Academy) and Blue-Alliance (Air Force Academy). Manning reviewed requests to join KnightsOut in order to ensure the applicants were really gay and not outside infiltrators.The group has about 40 West Point alumni and cadets.

Manning was surprised when he received an application from Choi in January 2009, but he quickly recognized what an effective spokesman his old friend would make for the group.

“It took us quite a while to convince Dan to be the face of SAGALA, but he ultimately did it out of that rare compassion he has for people,” Manning said. “Dan’s a great soldier. He saw the need, and he took action.”

Choi said he never wanted to be an activist, but “even before we went public, people were emailing me saying they were suicidal. … It was only when people cried out for help that I realized we have to do everything we can with the short amount of time we have.”

When Choi finally came out, it was in a big way – on MSNBC’s “The Rachel Maddow Show.” He went on to speak at numerous LGBT events, lead Pride parades, including New York City’s LGBT Pride March, and participate in protests. In addition to his arrest in Washington, he was taken into custody in Moscow.

Choi was present when President Barack Obama signed the bill repealing DADT on Dec. 22, 2010.

Despite – or perhaps due to – his bravery, Choi has encountered more rejection than his friend.

Manning’s old West Point roommates have been very supportive since he came out, he said. On the other hand, Choi’s former West Point friends abandoned him.

“My roommates were so religious that we … would all pray for the entire company to become religious,” he said.

Manning, unlike Choi, also has received support from his family. Choi’s father “officially doesn’t love me,” he said, referring to his dad’s employment by the Southern Baptist Convention, which prohibits members from approving, affirming or endorsing “homosexual behavior.”

“The real pain is to know that no matter what you do, your parents aren’t going to be proud of you,” Choi said.

But Choi intends to remain a committed activist as long as he’s needed, he said, and he expects that to be for many years to come.

“The more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war,” Choi said. “We have to ask ourselves how hard are we willing to fight now so that future generations don’t have to bleed. We’ve just done our basic training.”

Lesbian military officer who fought for equality dies

Charlie Morgan, a chief warrant officer in the New Hampshire Army National Guard who fought to repeal the federal law barring her wife from receiving benefits to help care for their daughter, has died. She was 48.

Morgan died on Sunday at a hospice in Dover, N.H., after a battle with breast cancer, a spokesman for New Hampshire Gov. Maggie Hassan said.

Morgan, of New Durham, was a nationally recognized advocate in the effort to repeal the Defense of Marriage Act. She was a plaintiff in a federal lawsuit in 2011 saying the act violated her constitutional rights.

Under the federal act, the Pentagon is required to ignore same-sex marriages, which are legal in several states including New Hampshire. Morgan, after finding out she had cancer, was worried her spouse and their daughter would be unable to receive military, Social Security and other benefits if she died.

“She deserves the same benefits as any other spouse,” Morgan said in 2011 at the first national convention of gay military personnel on active duty. “She went through the same stress, fear and concern during my deployment as any other spouse.”

Shortly before that, Morgan came out on national television on the day the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy was repealed.

On Monday, a Department of Defense memo detailed a number of benefits that will be extended to same-sex partners of service members, including identification cards that will provide access to commissaries and other services but not some housing benefits.

In February 2012, Morgan visited Capitol Hill to meet with the staff of House Speaker John Boehner to tell her story.

She said her breast cancer was diagnosed in 2008, and she underwent a double mastectomy and chemotherapy. She was declared cancer-free in 2010 and was deployed to Kuwait for one year. She returned home to her wife, Karen Morgan, and then-4-year-old daughter. But she also learned that the cancer had returned and was incurable.

In August 2012, the Morgans traveled to Minneapolis to testify before the Democratic Party’s platform committee in support of the freedom to marry, following a video released by the groups OutServe-SLDN and Freedom to Marry detailing their story.

Morgan led attendees in the Pledge of Allegiance at Hassan’s inauguration on Jan. 3. Hassan said Morgan’s fight for equality will outlive her fight against cancer.

“We can and should honor Charlie’s legacy by continuing her fight to ensure that all families are treated equally by the state of New Hampshire and by the federal government,” Hassan said in a statement.

U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, of New Hampshire, said Morgan “epitomized courage in her military service, her fight for LGBT equality and her battle with cancer.”

Outserve-SLDN executive director Allyson Robinson called Morgan a courageous fighter “for our country, for her family, and for the equality of all who wear the uniform of our nation.… She made an indelible mark on everyone she met with her integrity, her positive outlook, and her unflinching commitment to righting the wrongs visited upon gay and lesbian military families. The fight for full LGBT equality in this country is forever changed because Charlie Morgan took up the cause.”

A service has been scheduled for Thursday at South Church in Portsmouth, N.H.

Defense secretary announces extension of benefits to same-sex partners

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Feb. 11 announced the extension of certain benefits to same-sex partners of gay and lesbian servicemembers.

The benefits include providing partners with spousal military ID cards, access to joint duty assignments and also access to support programs for military families.

The announcement comes 17 months after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy that barred gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.

Panetta, in an announcement, said at the time of repeal, he committed to reviewing how the Defense Department treated the partners and families of gays in the military.

He continued, “It is a matter of fundamental equity that we provide similar benefits to all of those men and women in uniform who serve their country. The department already provides a group of benefits that are member-designated. Today, I am pleased to announce that after a thorough and deliberate review, the department will extend additional benefits to same-sex partners of service members.

“Taking care of our servicemembers and honoring the sacrifices of all military families are two core values of this nation. Extending these benefits is an appropriate next step under current law to ensure that all service members receive equal support for what they do to protect this nation.”

Human Rights Campaign president Chad Griffin responded to the news, “Today, the Pentagon took a historic step forward toward righting the wrong of inequality in our armed forces, but there is still more work to be done. Gay and lesbian servicemembers and their families make sacrifices every day, and this country owes them every measure of support we can provide.Since the repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ the Obama administration has shown true leadership on this issue. But even today, the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act makes inequality for gay and lesbian military families a legal requirement.”

Panetta observed in his announcement that an obstacle to full equal benefits for same-sex partners is the Defense of Marriage Act, which bars the federal recognition of gay marriage. The secretary said, “There are certain benefits that can only be provided to spouses as defined by that law, which is now being reviewed by the U.S. Supreme Court. While it will not change during my tenure as secretary of defense, I foresee a time when the law will allow the department to grant full benefits to service members and their dependents, irrespective of sexual orientation. Until then, the department will continue to comply with current law while doing all we can to take care of all soldiers, sailors, airmen, marines, and their families.”

At Outserve-SLDN, an organization that advocates for LGBT servicemembers, executive director Allyson Robinson acknowledged the limits imposed by DOMA but stressed that, even under DOMA, the Defense Department could extend more benefits, including on-base housing, burial rights at national cemeteries and some overseas travel for spouses, which remain under consideration.

Robinson, however, said the benefits package offered is substantive.

She said, “Secretary Panetta’s decision today answers the call President Obama issued in his inaugural address to complete our nation’s journey toward equality, acknowledging the equal service and equal sacrifice of our gay and lesbian service members and their families. We thank him for getting us a few steps closer to full equality – steps that will substantively improve the quality of life of gay and lesbian military families.”

The benefits changes that can be made, will happen revisions as expeditiously as possible,” Panetta said.

One year later, no problems with DADT repeal

A year after the full repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, researchers say they see only favorable results from gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“The U.S. military has set an international standard with the smooth transition to openly gay service,” said Aaron Belkin, lead author of “One Year Out: An Assessment of DADT Repeal’s Impact on Military Readiness.”

The Palm Center in California released the report, prepared with help from professors at the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Marine Corps War College, to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the repeal on Sept. 20.

DADT, implemented in the early years of Democrat Bill Clinton’s first term, earned its nickname because it banned military officers from asking about a servicemember’s sexual orientation and prohibited servicemembers from coming out as gay. The policy was a compromise – Clinton had wanted to lift the longtime ban on gay servicemembers, but the GOP-controlled Congress wanted to keep the prohibition.

In the 2008 presidential election, every Democrat running for the White House pledged to repeal DADT. President Barack Obama made repeal a White House priority in 2010. The process proved lengthy – with studies and surveys, debates and decisions required by the Defense Department, Congress and the administration.

Opponents of repeal included more than 1,000 retired generals and admirals who signed a statement predicting that open service would “break the all-volunteer force.”

But Belkin said the review of the first year found that repeal has not compromised security, readiness or unit cohesion.

The researchers found:

• Only two servicemembers, both chaplains, were identified as having left the military as a result of DADT repeal.

• A Pentagon spokesperson told the study’s co-authors that she was not aware of a single episode of violence associated with repeal.

• Pentagon data show that recruitment and retention remained robust after repeal.

• Survey data revealed that service-wide, the troops reported the same level of morale after repeal as they did before repeal.

• Survey data revealed that service-wide, the troops reported the same level of readiness after repeal as they did before repeal.

The researchers, who surveyed officers, servicemembers, veterans, scholars, and activists for and against repeal, also found that trust among troops improved following the lifting of the ban.

Servicemembers and LGBT civil rights advocates celebrated the one-year anniversary of repeal with small events around the United States and with a gala in New York City hosted by Barbara Walters, with Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as a special guest.

Meanwhile, the issue of gays serving in the military remains politically charged.

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin voted against repealing DADT, while GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he opposed the repeal but reinstatement of the policy would be unnecessary. The Republican Party platform adopted at the national convention in Tampa, Fla., in late August states, “We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness.”

In their platform, Democrats referred to the lifting of the ban as a civil rights achievement, and numerous speakers celebrated the repeal.

A year after the full repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, researchers say they see only favorable results from gays and lesbians serving openly in the U.S. Armed Forces.

“The U.S. military has set an international standard with the smooth transition to openly gay service,” said Aaron Belkin, lead author of “One Year Out: An Assessment of DADT Repeal’s Impact on Military Readiness.”

The Palm Center in California released the report, prepared with help from professors at the U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Marine Corps War College, to coincide with the one-year anniversary of the repeal on Sept. 20.

DADT, implemented in the early years of Democrat Bill Clinton’s first term, earned its nickname because it banned military officers from asking about a servicemember’s sexual orientation and prohibited servicemembers from coming out as gay. The policy was a compromise – Clinton had wanted to lift the longtime ban on gay servicemembers, but the GOP-controlled Congress wanted to keep the prohibition.

In the 2008 presidential election, every Democrat running for the White House pledged to repeal DADT. President Barack Obama made repeal a White House priority in 2010. The process proved lengthy – with studies and surveys, debates and decisions required by the Defense Department, Congress and the administration.

Opponents of repeal included more than 1,000 retired generals and admirals who signed a statement predicting that open service would “break the all-volunteer force.”

But Belkin said the review of the first year found that repeal has not compromised security, readiness or unit cohesion.

The researchers found:

• Only two servicemembers, both chaplains, were identified as having left the military as a result of DADT repeal.

• A Pentagon spokesperson told the study’s co-authors that she was not aware of a single episode of violence associated with repeal.

• Pentagon data show that recruitment and retention remained robust after repeal.

• Survey data revealed that service-wide, the troops reported the same level of morale after repeal as they did before repeal.

• Survey data revealed that service-wide, the troops reported the same level of readiness after repeal as they did before repeal.

The researchers, who surveyed officers, servicemembers, veterans, scholars, and activists for and against repeal, also found that trust among troops improved following the lifting of the ban.

Servicemembers and LGBT civil rights advocates celebrated the one-year anniversary of repeal with small events around the United States and with a gala in New York City hosted by Barbara Walters, with Adm. Mike Mullen, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, as a special guest.

Meanwhile, the issue of gays serving in the military remains politically charged.

Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan of Wisconsin voted against repealing DADT, while GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney has said he opposed the repeal but reinstatement of the policy would be unnecessary. The Republican Party platform adopted at the national convention in Tampa, Fla., in late August states, “We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation and will not accept attempts to undermine military priorities and mission readiness.”

In their platform, Democrats referred to the lifting of the ban as a civil rights achievement, and numerous speakers celebrated the repeal.

“Whose leadership, whose judgment, whose values do you want in the White House when that crisis lands like a thud on the Oval Office desk? A person who wanted to keep ‘don’t ask, don’t tell,’ or a president who believes that who you love should not keep you from serving the country you love?” asked Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel in his convention speech.

Colin Powell endorses same-sex marriage

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, who once supported “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the military ban on out gay and lesbian servicemembers, now says that he supports same-sex marriage.

Asked by CNN’s Wolf Blitzer how he felt about President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality, the retired four-star general said he backs the commander-in-chief.

“In terms of the legal matter of creating a contract between two people that’s called marriage, and allowing them to live together with the protection of law, it seems to me is the way we should be moving in this country. And so I support the president’s decision,” Powell said.

Powell was chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President Bill Clinton when DADT was implemented in 1993. He told Blitzer that he felt the policy then was a compromise by Congress “to get us out of an even worse outcome that could have occurred.”

In February 2010, Powell announced that he supported repealing the military ban.

“In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” said Powell at the time.

Facebook fans cheer gay Marine’s kiss

A new Facebook page celebrates the fall of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy and the new era for gays in the Marines.

“Gay Marines,” designated a society/culture page, is one of a number of new social media outlets for gay and lesbian servicemembers following the full repeal of DADT last fall.

That policy, enacted in the 1990s, prohibited military officers from asking about sexual orientation, but also prohibited servicemembers from serving openly.

Response to a photograph of a gay Marine getting a “welcome-home” kiss posted on Feb. 25 shows the popularity of the FB page – and the new era of openness. Within two days, nearly 19,000 people had liked the image, more than 4,000 offered comments and more than 3,000 shared the photo.

One fan wrote, “Wow. This brought me to tears. A Marine out risking his life so we can all sleep soundly at night. We should be thankful – as thankful as he is in the picture to be home to the one he loves. Is that too much to ask? Thank you. Thank you. Thank you!”

The pictured gay Marine answered to all, “Everyone who has responded in a positive way. My partner and I want to say thank you. …As for the haters, let ’em hate.”

The about section says the page exists “to provide information and discussion pertinent to gay Marines, their spouses, significant others, friends and allies. Service personnel of all branches are welcome, but the focus here is on the United States Marine Corps.”

The page features celebratory posts, such as a video of Marines dancing.

But also cautions and reminders that the service branches still must deal with anti-gay policies and homophobia. One warning stated, “A Young Gay Marine told me that his squad was told by their Sgt that even if you are gay ‘don’t come out or we will beat the shit of you.’ The pressure and fear is still pervasive. Keep supporting those you know who are active.”

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White House commemorates DADT repeal

A year ago this week, President Barack Obama signed into law legislation repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy banning gays from open service.

An anti-gay restriction had been in place in the United States, in some form, since the Colonial era, and servicemembers would wait another 10 months before the ban was lifted.

This week, the White House commemorated the bill signing with a re-release of the transcript from the Dec. 22 event, at which Obama said, “For we are not a nation that says, ‘don’t ask, don’t tell.’ We are a nation that says, ‘Out of many, we are one.’ We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot. We are a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal. Those are the ideals that generations have fought for. Those are the ideals that we uphold today. And now, it is my honor to sign this bill into law.”

The White House also released a series of videos featuring former servicemembers commenting on the ban and it’s repeal, including:

Zoe Dunning – Until her retirement in 2007, Retired Navy Cmdr.  Zoe Dunning was one of the only openly gay service members in the country, having successfully fought an attempted discharge in 1993. For many of those years, she served on the board of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network as an advocate for the repeal of DADT. 

Watch Zoe’s video

Eric Alva – Retired Staff Sergeant Eric Alva joined the U.S. Marine Corps when he was 19 years old. He served honorably for 13 years until 2003, when he became the first American soldier wounded in Iraq. Alva was subsequently medically retired, and for his heroism, received a Purple Heart.

Watch Eric’s video

Grethe Cammermeye – Retired Col. Grethe Cammermeyer is a Vietnam Veteran and Bronze Star recipient who spent much of her life advocating against the original ban on gays in the military and later against “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Her autobiography, “Serving in Silence,” was recognized by the National Education Association and later made into an Emmy Award winning movie starring Glenn Close and produced by Barbra Streisand. Today, Cammermeyer also serves on the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services.

Watch Grethe’s video

Jonathan Hopkins – Former Army Capt. Jonathan Hopkins graduated at the top of his West Point class and was deployed three times to Iraq and Afghanistan, earning three Bronze Stars, including one for valor. Fourteen months after being outed, he was honorably discharged under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in August 2010.

Watch Jonathan’s video

Sue Fulton – Former Army Capt. Sue Fulton graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1980 – the first class to include women. Today, she is the executive director of Knights Out – an organization of West Point LGBT alumni, staff, and faculty – and she also serves as a member of the West Point Board of Visitors.

Watch Sue’s video

Lesbian couple shares kiss at Navy ship’s return

A Navy tradition caught up with the repeal of the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” rule on Dec. 21 when two women sailors became the first to share the coveted “first kiss” on the pier after one of them returned from 80 days at sea, the AP reported.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta of Placerville, Calif., descended from the USS Oak Hill amphibious landing ship and shared a quick kiss in the rain with her partner, Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell of Los Angeles.

Gaeta, 23, wore her Navy dress uniform while Snell, 22, wore a black leather jacket, scarf and blue jeans. The crowd screamed and waved flags around them, according to the wire report.

“It’s something new, that’s for sure,” Gaeta told reporters after the kiss. “It’s nice to be able to be myself. It’s been a long time coming.”

For the historical significance of the kiss, there was little to differentiate it from countless others when a Navy ship pulls into its home port following a deployment. Neither the Navy nor the couple tried to draw attention to what was happening.

David Bauer, the commanding officer of the USS Oak Hill, said that Gaeta and Snell’s kiss would largely be a non-event and the crew’s reaction upon learning who was selected to have the first kiss was positive.

“It’s going to happen and the crew’s going to enjoy it. We’re going to move on and it won’t overshadow the great things that this crew has accomplished over the past three months,” Bauer said.

The ship returned to Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story following an 80-day deployment to Central America. The crew of more than 300 participated in exercises involving the militaries of Honduras, Guatemala Colombia and Panama as part of Amphibious-Southern Partnership Station 2012.

Both women are Navy fire controlmen, who maintain and operate weapons systems on ships. They met at training school where they were roommates and have been dating for two years, which they said was difficult under “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

“We did have to hide it a lot in the beginning,” Snell said. “A lot of people were not always supportive of it in the beginning, but we can finally be honest about who we are in our relationship, so I’m happy.”

Navy officials said it was the first time on record that a same-sex couple was chosen to kiss first upon a ship’s return. Sailors and their loved ones bought $1 raffle tickets for the opportunity.

Watch the first kiss on YouTube.

Source: Associated Press

Top marine says ‘don’t ask’ repeal went smoothly

Marine Gen. James F. Amos, the face of opposition in the military to lifting the ban on gays serving openly, now acknowledges his concern that repeal would undermine the war effort has proven unfounded. In fact, he says, Marines have embraced the change.

In an Associated Press interview, Amos called the repeal in September “a non-event.”

That is in contrast to his cautionary words to Congress in December 2010, shortly before President Barack Obama signed the repeal legislation. The ban was not lifted until this year to allow the Pentagon to prepare troops for the change.

“Successfully implementing repeal and assimilating openly homosexual Marines into the tightly woven fabric of our combat units has strong potential for disruption at the small unit level as it will no doubt divert leadership attention away from an almost singular focus on preparing units for combat,” Amos testified. Still, he said at the time that if the law were changed, it would be faithfully followed by Marines.

He now sees no sign of disruption in the ranks – even on the front lines.

“I’m very pleased with how it has gone,” Amos said during a weeklong trip that included four days in Afghanistan, where he heard nary a word of worry about gays. During give-and-take sessions with Marines serving in Helmand province, he was asked about a range of issues, including the future of the Corps – but not one about gays.

In the AP interview, he also offered an anecdote from the home front to make his point that the change has been taken in stride.

He said that at the annual ball in Washington this month celebrating the birth of the Marine Corps, a female Marine approached Amos’ wife, Bonnie, and introduced herself and her lesbian partner.

“Bonnie just looked at them and said, ‘Happy birthday ball. This is great. Nice to meet you,'” Amos said. “That is happening throughout the Marine Corps.”

Looking back, Amos said he had no regrets about publicly opposing repeal during wartime. He said he had felt obliged, as commandant of the Corps, to set aside his personal opinions and represent the views of the 56 percent of combat Marines who told a Defense Department survey last year that repeal could make them less effective and cohesive in combat.

“I think I did exactly what I should have done,” Amos said. “I’ve never looked back on it and said it (his concern) was misplaced.”

He said he is aware of only one reported incident in Afghanistan thus far, and that turned out to be a false alarm. He said a blogger had written of a gay Marine being harassed by fellow Marines for his sexual orientation. In an ensuing investigation, the gay Marine denied he had been harassed.

A Defense Department spokeswoman, Cynthia O. Smith, said implementation of the repeal of the gay ban is proceeding smoothly across the military.

“We attribute this success to our comprehensive pre-repeal training program, combined with the continued close monitoring and enforcement of standards by our military leaders at all levels,” Smith said.

In the months leading up to Congress’ repeal, there were indications that the change might not be embraced so readily.

During a visit to a Marine combat outpost in southern Afghanistan in June, then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates was confronted by an enlisted Marine who clearly objected to the repeal. He told Gates that the Marine Corps had “a set of standards and values that is better than that of the civilian sector,” and that repeal of the gay ban had “changed those values.”

He asked Gates whether Marines who object to serving with gays would be allowed to opt out of their enlistment. Gates said no and predicted that if pre-repeal training was done right, “nothing will change” with regard to rules of behavior and discipline.