Pace expresses regret for airing personal view, refuses to apologize About 250 people gathered for an ACT UP/New York rally outside the military recruiting station in Times Square on Thursday, March 15, to protest comments Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, made in support of the military’s “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. (Photo by Andres Duque - Wockner News Service) WASHINGTON – The Pentagon’s top general expressed regret Tuesday, March 13 that he called homosexuality immoral, a remark that drew a harsh condemnation from members of Congress and gay advocacy groups. But the general did not offer an apology, something that had been demanded by gay rights groups. In a newspaper interview Monday, March 12, Marine Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, had likened homosexual acts to adultery and said the military should not condone it by allowing gays to serve openly in the armed forces. In a statement the next day, he said he should have focused more in the interview on the Defense Department policy about gays and “less on my personal moral views.” “General Pace’s comments are outrageous, insensitive and disrespectful to the 65,000 lesbian and gay troops now serving in our armed forces,” the advocacy group Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said in a statement on its Web site. The group, which has represented some of the thousands dismissed from the military for their sexual orientation, demanded an apology. Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, also called on Pace to apologize, as did Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. “It’s hard to compound the immorality of ‘Don’t ask don’t tell, but Gen. Pace has done it,” Foreman said in a written statement released Tuesday, adding that the real “immorality” in the situation is the injustice done to LGBT servicemembers and the war in Iraq. ACT UP/NY, the New York chapter of the AIDS Coalition to Unleash Power, on Wednesday “stormed” the military recruiting station in Times Square on Thursday, March 15, to demand that Pace be fired and to call on LGBT people in the military to quit immediately. Pace’s senior staff members said earlier that the general was expressing his personal opinion and did not intend to apologize. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not allowed to speak on the record. Rep. Martin Meehan, who has introduced legislation to repeal the current policy, criticized Pace’s comments. “General Pace’s statements aren’t in line with either the majority of the public or the military,” said the Massachusetts Democrat. “He needs to recognize that support for overturning [the policy] is strong and growing” and that the military is “turning away good troops to enforce a costly policy of discrimination.” Republican Sen. John Warner, the top Republican on the Senate Armed Services Committee, also issued as statement Tuesday distancing himself from the general’s comments. “I respectfully, but strongly disagree with the chairman’s view that homosexuality is immoral,” Warner’s statement said. And former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson of Wyoming wrote, in an opinion piece published Wednesday in the Washington Post, that he, too, believes the policy should be repealed. “I believe it is critical that we review — and overturn — the ban on gay service members in the military,” Simpson wrote. Simpson said it was the military’s need for Arab language specialists and the number of those specialists discharged under “Don’t ask, don’t tell” that caused him to change his mind. In an interview Monday with the Chicago Tribune, Pace was asked about the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve if they keep their sexual orientation private and don’t engage in homosexual acts. Pace said he supports the policy, which became law in 1994 and prohibits commanders from asking about a person’s sexual orientation. “I believe that homosexual acts between individuals are immoral and that we should not condone immoral acts,” Pace said. ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ pentagon officals regretted what he said ... do you think he should apologize? If he doesn't, do you think he should lose his rank?