Americans, Military Leaders Support Repeal Of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell”



“[Repeal] is the right thing to do.”
– Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
 
This week, the House will consider a proposal to the National Defense Authorization Act on “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,” which would call for its repeal contingent on the Department of Defense completing its review and the President, Secretary of Defense, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs certifying that the repeal would not impact military readiness.  Many military officials have voiced their support for repealing this law, as well as a majority of Americans.  In fact, a poll out this week shows that nearly 8 in 10 Americans support allowing openly gay men and women to serve in our armed forces.
“A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 78 percent of the public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military…. ‘Support is widespread, even among Republicans. Nearly six in ten Republicans favor allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military…. There is a gender gap, with 85 percent of women and 71 percent of men favoring the change, but support remains high among both groups.’”  [CNN Polling Director Keating Holland, 5/25/2010]
 
Military Officials Support Repeal of “Don't Ask Don't Tell”
 
In addition to the following military officials, a recent poll shows that 73% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans said it is “personally acceptable to them if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly in the military.”
 
Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
“It is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do. No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape being troubled by the fact that we have in place a policy which forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens. For me personally, it comes down to integrity -- theirs as individuals and ours as an institution.”  [Admiral Michael Mullen, 2/3/10]
 
General Colin Powell, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
“In the almost seventeen years since the ‘Don't Ask, Don't Tell' legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed...For the past two years, I have expressed the view that it was time for the law to be reviewed by Congress. I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.”  [Colin Powell, 2/3/10]
 
General John Shalikashvili, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff:
“‘Don't ask, don't tell’ is both a federal law and a Pentagon policy. The law ties the military's hands on this issue. If Congress fails to repeal it, the Pentagon's study process will be compromised because the Defense Department will not have the authority to implement its own recommendations…. Congress should repeal the law, providing the secretary and the chairman with enough maneuvering room that, when the time is right, they can implement policies that end discrimination and maximize military readiness.”  [General John Shalikashvili, 5/22/10]
 
51 Retired Generals and Admirals and Former Army Secretary:
Repeal “don't ask, don't tell.”  In a letter to Congress, 52 military leaders recommended that Congress repeal DADT: “We respectfully urge Congress to repeal the ‘don't ask, don't tell’ policy. Those of us signing this letter have dedicated our lives to defending the rights of our citizens to believe whatever they wish.”  [Military Leaders Letter to Congress, 7/23/08]