Marine's Facebook page pits free speech against military rules

By Published: March 7, 2012

The Marine Corps is looking into whether Sgt. Gary Stein broke military rules when he declared on Facebook that he wouldn't follow orders from the commander in chief, President Barack Obama, The Associated Press reported.

Stein made the comment on the page of a group he created, Armed Forces Tea Party Patriots. He later softened the statement to say he wouldn't follow "unlawful orders," but legal experts say he might have violated rules prohibiting political statements by those in uniform and guidelines on what troops can and cannot say on social media.

"Just because I'm a Marine doesn't mean I don't have free speech or can't say my personal opinion about the president or other public official just like anybody else," Stein told AP. "The Constitution trumps everything else."

Former Navy officer David Glazier, now, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles, disagrees. "I think that it's been pretty well established for a long time that freedom of speech is one area in which people do surrender some of their basic rights in entering the armed forces," he told AP.

Read more about the controversy over Stein's Facebook page from The Associated Press

A correction regarding the AP story

Marine Sgt. Gary Stein


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