Service members with moral objections to gays and lesbians serving openly in the military may not opt out of their enlistment because of their personal beliefs, outgoing Defense secretary Robert Gates said Sunday.
Reuters reports that Gates was asked about DADT repeal -- which has yet to be certified by the president, Defense secretary, and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff -- during a question-and-answer session with Marines at a base in Afghanistan's Helmand province.
"Sir, we joined the Marine Corps because the Marine Corps has a set of standards and values that is better than that of the civilian sector. And we have gone and changed those values and repealed the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy," a sergeant told Gates. "We have not given the Marines a chance to decide whether they wish to continue serving under that. Is there going to be an option for those Marines that no longer wish to serve due to the fact their moral values have not changed?"
Gates replied "No" and said opponents of repeal currently must complete their enlistment "just like everybody else."
"The reality is that you don't all agree with each other on your politics, you don't agree with each other on your religion, you don't agree with each other on a lot of things," Gates said. "But you still serve together. And you work together. And you look out for each other. And that's all that matters."
Gates will leave his position June 30. On Thursday the Senate Armed Services Committee will hold a confirmation hearing for Leon Panetta, the current CIA director and President Barack Obama's nominee to replace Gates as secretary of Defense.