Top Marine opposes possible repeal of 'Don't ask, don't tell'

The commandant of the Marine Corps told senators Thursday that he opposes lifting the ban on openly gay people serving in the military.

Gen. James Conway’s position on the repeal of the controversial law known as “Don’t ask, don’t tell” has not been a close-held secret, but on Thursday he publicly offered his personal opinion to the Senate Armed Services Committee — becoming the most senior military officer to openly express his opposition to the change of the Clinton-era law.

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“My best military advice to this committee, to the secretary and to the president would be to keep the law such as it is,” Conway said. “At this point I think that the current policy works.”

Conway, however, indicated that he supported Defense Secretary Robert Gates’s yearlong study on how to implement the repeal of the ban within the military services.

This week, Army Chief of Staff Gen. George Casey, Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Norton Schwartz and Chief of Naval Operations Gary Roughead also indicated in testimony before congressional committees that they would like to see the implementation study done before any changes are made, including a moratorium on the current law.