US Army will not accept temporary ban on gay firings

Illustrated rainbow pride flag on a pink background.

US Army chiefs told a Senate hearing today that they would oppose attempts to implement a temporary ban on firings of out gay servicemembers.

The Senate Armed Services Committee is undertaking hearings on how the 1993 law prohibiting out gay soldiers can be repealed and is hearing testimony from civilian and military leaders.

President Barack Obama and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen support repeal.

Some legislators and gay groups have called for a suspension of firings while the review is carried out.

According to Associated Press, Army Chief of Staff General George Casey told the panel that an immediate moratorium on firings would “complicate the whole process.”

Opponents argue that the ban cannot be lifted right now because the US is currently fighting wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. They warn it will harm morale and recruitment.

General Casey said that he had “serious concerns” about the impact of repealing the ban.

Army Secretary John McHugh, a former congressional Republican, agreed with General Casey, saying he favoured waiting until the end of the review.

A report released by the Palm Center today claims that in other countries which have lifted gay military bans, the move has not harmed recruitment or caused disruption.

It concludes that in other militaries around the world, allowing gay personnel to serve openly did not undermine morale or cause mass resignations.

Another finding was that there were “no instances of increased harassment” as a result of lifting bans in any of the countries studied, which included the UK, Canada and Australia.