A retired Marine general who was opposed to integrating openly gay troops with straight troops in sleeping quarters and did not support repealing "don't ask, don't tell," has been named as a supporter of Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney.
Marine Corps commandant Gen. James Conway is on a list of 300 retired military commanders leaders, who have endorsed the former Massachusetts governor, the Air Force Times reports.
In 2010, as Congress and the courts were weighing the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," Conway said he did not think gay and straight troops should live together.
"I would not ask our Marines to live with someone that is homosexual if we can possibly avoid it," Conway said. "And to me that means we have to build BEQs [bachelor enlisted quarters] and have single rooms."
According to Mother Jones, Conway also said in a 2010 press briefing, "[W]e recruit a certain type of young American, pretty macho guy or gal, that is willing to go fight and perhaps die for their country," Conway said. "We sometimes ask Marines, you know, what is—what is their preference. And I can tell you that an overwhelming majority would like not to be roomed with a person who is openly homosexual."
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, has advised retired military leaders to remain publicly neutral on political issues.
"Former and retired service members, especially generals and admirals, are connected to the military service for life,” Dempsey said in June, according to the Times. “When the title or uniform is used for partisan purposes, it can erode the trust relationship. We must all be conscious of this, or we risk adversely affecting the very profession to which we dedicated most of our adult life.”