Pentagon responds to our blog post about segregating gay troops. Apparently, I’m not being ‘helpful.’

UPDATE: The Marine Commandment talked about segregation too.

It only took the Pentagon nine months to clarify that it does not plan on having ‘separate but equal’ barracks and showers for gay service members.

In a briefing this past Friday, Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell appeared to allude to the possibility of segregating gay troops if and when the ban is lifted:

“We think it would be irresponsible to conduct a survey that didn’t try to address these types of things. Because when DADT is repealed, we will have to determine if there are any challenges in those particular areas, any adjustments that need to be made in terms of how we educate the force to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.”

Today, Morrell – who has been less than truthful about Pentagon efforts on DADT in the past – took umbrage at our post:

“We think it would be irresponsible to conduct a survey that didn’t try to address these types of things. Because when DADT is repealed, we will have to determine if there are any challenges in those particular areas, any adjustments that need to be made in terms of how we educate the force to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.”

“No one is talking about segregating gay servicemembers from straight servicemembers,” Morrell said. “We don’t know that any adjustment will have to be made, but in the event that’s a recommendation from the review group, it would not result in any ‘separate but equal’ facilities.”

Hypothetically speaking, Morell said, it is possible the military could consider facility modifications like adding shower curtains to shower stalls that are currently open.

“We don’t know if any adjustments will be required, but we need to survey the force to get an idea of what their privacy concerns are,” he said.

Morell said the suggestion the survey could lead to segregation is “inflammatory nonsense” from groups trying to discredit the survey, which is “not helpful” for the Defense Department.

With all due respect to Mr. Morrell, a Bush appointee, it’s not my job to be “helpful” to a Defense Department that treats my community as second class citizens, and regularly undercuts its own commander in chief. As for Morrell’s assertion that we are responsible for this notion that the Pentagon might be considering segregating gay troops, the idea didnt come from me, it came from the Secretary of the Army last October:

Selling the idea to Congress, which has the final say, could depend on exactly what the administration tries to do in terms of the timing of repeal and how it is applied, McHugh said.

It’s possible, for example, that homosexuals could be allowed into some occupations or units but barred from others, McHugh said, stressing that he was not aware of any such plans but only discussing how the issue might play out.

“I don’t want to prejudge the situation,” he said. “I am saying if he did that, it would be my job to explain it when the appropriate time comes.”

It’s been nine months since the Army Secretary’s comments created a mini firestorm of concern that the Pentagon was seriously considering segregating gay troops, as an option for how to implement a repeal of DADT. Perhaps the deafening silence from Mr. Morrell about the Secretary’s comments, and his decision to let such concern fester for nine months, in addition to his rather in-artful wording at the briefing last Friday, played a small role in people’s concerns.


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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