“My best military advice to this committee, to the (defense) secretary, and to the president would be to keep the law such as it is.”
Conway said the current policy worked and any bid to lift the ban should answer the question: “do we somehow enhance the war fighting capabilities of the United States Marine Corps by allowing homosexuals to openly serve?”
Conway’s public rejection of his commander-in-chief’s stance is sure to fuel debate in Congress on the issue and reflects apprehension among some senior military officers about changing the 1993 law.
The chiefs of the US Army and Air Force also expressed doubts about lifting the ban at congressional hearings this week, saying they were concerned about putting the military under further strain in the midst of two wars.
But Conway went further, making it clear he opposed lifting the ban that requires gay service members to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.
Senator Joe Lieberman disagreed with Conway, saying he believed the review would show that allowing gays to serve openly would bolster the military’s battle readiness.
“This has to pass the test of military readiness. I believe it will based on my knowledge of what’s happened in other militaries,” he said, citing British and Canadian forces who serve alongside American troops inAfghanistan.