Don't Ask, Don't Tell Hits Home For Marine
ROBERT SIEGEL, host:
This week, we're hearing a number of perspectives on don't ask, don't tell and the Obama administration's plans to repeal the ban on openly gay people serving in the military. Today, we hear from some Marines. Zach Zimmerman is a lance corporal with the 2nd Battalion 8th Marine Regiment. His father is gay. One of our producers met him a couple of months ago in Afghanistan's Helmand province. Out on patrol, he talked about whether his fellow Marines know that his dad is gay, and whether they give him a hard time about it.
Lance Corporal ZACH ZIMMERMAN (U.S. Marine's 2nd Battalion 8th Regiment): Some of them do, but honestly, I've been to Iraq with most these guys and I'm here. They got a problem with me because my dad is gay? They can (censored) themselves. You know, I come out here every (censored) day like they do. I come out here every (censored) day like some of them don't do. They want to judge me because my dad is gay, well, they go ahead (censored) themselves.
SIEGEL: That's a full-throated Marine view. Lance Corporal Zimmerman was more reflective on the question of the don't ask, don't tell policy as he pushed through a cornfield carrying his machine gun.
Lance Cpl. ZIMMERMAN: As far as the don't ask, don't tell here, you know, that's a tough one. As a civilian, I always say the don't ask, don't tell policy is good or isn't good and they should let gay people serve openly. But as a Marine, I just think it would, right now just the Marine Corps is not ready for it, you know. We've got a lot of (censored) to worry about. And honestly it's for both sides because there would be a Matthew Shepard incident probably, something along those lines. And it would not just bad for America, bad for the Marine Corps, and bad for the gay community. So, I think, you know, America has got to come to a better place on that before, you know, the military can.
SIEGEL: Lance Corporal Zimmerman referred there to Matthew Shepard, the young man tortured and murdered in Wyoming 12 years ago because he was gay. Well, that's the view of one Marine deployed in southern Afghanistan.
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