Discharged Marine Claims First Amendment Rights, Marine Corps Disagrees
Sgt. Gary Stein, a nine-year United States Marine, will see his service to the country he loves come to an end July 27 following comments he made about President Barack Obama on a Facebook page according to a CNN story.
Stein, who runs the Armed Forces Tea Party social page, made multiple comments about the Commander in Chief’s leadership, but the one that stood out to the Marine Corps the most was his post about not following the commands of the President. Stein who posted, “Screw Obama. I will not follow all orders from him,” according to a story by ABC News, received an “other than honorable” discharge for the conduct.
According to Stein’s personal Facebook page he is in support of many of the laws his home state of Arizona are introducing. He is in support of banning Planned Parenthood Funding and of S.B. 1070, the immigration law.
The Marine vet has argued the discharge is a violation of his first amendment rights, but as CNN reported that the First Amendment protects ordinary citizens, “a Defense Department rule prohibits service members from engaging in some forms of political activity.”
Stein thought he was careful enough about the rule, but the Corps did not agree.
"I love the Marine Corps, I love my job," Stein told The Associated Press on April 25. "I wish it wouldn't have gone this way. I'm having a hard time seeing how 15 words on Facebook could have ruined my nine-year career."
According to ABC News, the discharge will affect Stein’s pension, downgrading him to an E-3 which will begin on July 27.
His attorney told AP they will continue to fight the discharge decision in Federal Court.