Sgt. Gary Stein, of Temecula, attended a hearing on base Thursday where officers and a senior noncommissioned officer will recommend to a general whether or not to discharge the Marine for saying on Facebook that he would not .
The Marine, his legal team and supporters believe the Department of Defense's rules for freedom of speech are too vague, the North County Times reports. In addition, the rules for posting on social media sites are too vague, some of his supporters argued at a near the base.
The question of political speech in the military was brought up earlier this year when he attended in uniform.
The Department of Defense quickly reacted with a statement highlighting the rules on political speech in the military.
"Military members ... may attend political meetings or rallies only as spectators and not in uniform. They're not permitted to make public political speeches, serve in any official capacity in partisan groups or participate in partisan political campaigns or conventions. They also are barred from engaging in any political activities while in uniform."
DoD Directive 1344.10, “Political Activities by Members of the Armed Forces on Active Duty" doesn't mention Facebook specifically but does state that members of the military may not “publish or allow to be published partisan political articles, literature, or documents that they have signed, written, or approved that solicit votes for or against a partisan political party, candidate, issue, or cause.”
The Marine Corps Social Media Principles booklet doesn’t mention political speech, but does tell Marines to represent the Marine Corps with the “same journalistic excellence the Marine Corps instills in its communicators and public affairs professionals.”
PDFs of the directive and Marine Corps’ social media guide accompany this article.
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