Powell, Former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Supported Law in 1993 but now “Fully Support(s)” Secy Gates and Adm. Mullens’ Strategy for Repeal
WASHINGTON – Today, the effort to repeal the discriminatory Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell law received a monumental boost of support from General Colin Powell. The former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the 1990’s, who supported the laws passage back in 1993, changed his position in a statement sent out today saying, “attitudes and circumstances have changed”. In voicing his support for the law’s repeal, Gen. Powell threw his full support behind the, “the new approach" presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”
“General Powell has made clear that his position is about effectiveness in the military,” said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. “His powerful voice for ending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is a tipping point in favor of the brave men and women who are serving our nation in silence. The support of respected present and former military leaders brings us closer to repeal, signaling that we’re moving forward and will get there soon. Opposing repeal now means second-guessing some of our nation’s top military leaders, including the Joint Chiefs chairman who opposed open service in the 1990’s when Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell became law.”
Gen. Powell’s announcement today of his support for repealing the law joins that of current Joint Chiefs chairman, Admiral Mike Mullen, who yesterday became the first Joint Chiefs chairman to ever speak out in support of repeal since Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell became law back in 1993. Gen. Powell’s statement today cited that, ““the principal issue has always been the effectiveness of the Armed Forces and order and discipline in the ranks.”
Solmonese continued, “I want to ask the senators and members who are speaking out against this repeal—what do you know about military effectiveness that General Powell, Secretary Gates, Admiral Mullen and the Commander in Chief don’t know? The truth is that there are no more excuses, the death knell for Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell has been rung and now is the moment to send this law into the history books where it belongs.”
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.