Marine Commandant proposed ‘facility adjustments’ in March — and didn’t mean shower curtains

For everyone who is buying Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell’s comments today on what he meant by “facility adjustments” as gospel, it wasn’t only the Army Secretary who suggested separate facilities for gay servicemembers. The top Marine talked about building separate quarters for gay troops in March of 2010:

The Marine Corps’ top officer said March 25 that even if the ban on openly-serving gays in the services is lifted, he would draw the line at forcing heterosexual Marines to bunk with gays on base.

“We want to continue [two-person rooms], but I would not ask our Marines to live with someone who is homosexual if we can possibly avoid it,” Marine Commandant Gen. James Conway told Military.com during an exclusive interview at the Pentagon. “And to me that means we have to build BEQs [bachelor enlisted quarters] and have single rooms.”

Now, that sounds a lot like “facility adjustments,” which was the term used by Morrell on Friday. In fact, he said it twice, via the Advocate’s transcript:

Because when DADT is repealed, we will have to determine if there are any challenges in those particular areas, any adjustments that need to be made in terms of how we educate the force to handle those situations, or perhaps even facility adjustments that need to be made to deal with those scenarios.

And:

All this will help our collective wisdom about the situation and then we’ll make judgments – the working group will – and this is where the hard part comes in, about armed with all this information, what will we do when repeal takes place to prepare the force for that. Does it require more education? Does it require more training? Does it require – as I mentioned before – adjustments to facilities?

What sounds more like facility adjustments? Building separate quarters? Or adding shower curtains, which is what Morrell is now claiming?

Another funny thing. The leading homophobic opponent of DADT repeal sure thought General Conway meant “separate, but equal”:

Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness said the question is whether the military, without a ban on gays serving openly, will opt for mixing gays and heterosexual troops in the same facilities or have “separate but equal” facilities.

“That’s what [Conway] seems to be advocating here,” she said. This is something the working group established by Gates to look at repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell should address up front, Donnelly said.

“I think that, in itself, is why Congress will vote to retain the law and not repeal it,” she said.

So, Elaine Donnelly thinks the Pentagon Working Group should think about separate but equal facilities. And, Geoff Morrell said the Working Group would look at facility adjustments. And the Marine Commandant talked about building separate facilities. And the Secretary of the Army was talking about outright segregation. But, we’re all crazy for thinking the Pentagon would ever propose “separate, but equal.” Yeah, because Elaine Donnelly has no influence at the Pentagon, and we shouldn’t believe a general, a secretary and the military’s own spokesman.

I’d say, we’re all suckers if we don’t keep every possible bit of pressure on the Obama administration and the Pentagon until this law is finally ended.


On October 27, 2010, Joe was one of five bloggers who interviewed President Obama. Joe is a DC-based political consultant with over twenty-five years of experience at both the state and federal level. Joe has managed political operations and legislative efforts for both candidates and issues-based organizations. For seven years, he was the Director of State Legislation at Handgun Control, Inc. He served as that organization's first Political Director during the 2000 cycle. Joe is a graduate of the University of Maine School of Law. In addition, he has a Masters in Public Administration from Lehigh University and received his B.A. from the University of New Hampshire. Joe also has a fun dog, Petey, a worthy successor to Boomer, who got Joe through eight years of Bush and Cheney. Joe likes to think he is a world class athlete having finished the 2005 Chicago Marathon in the time of 4:10. He has completed six other marathons as well -- and is still determined to break the four hour mark.

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