Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Michael Mullen made the remarks in testimony before the Senate Armed Service Committee in a hearing partially dedicated to the issue of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
“Speaking for myself, and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly is the right thing to do,” Mullen said. “No matter how I look at this issue, I cannot escape the … facts that we have in policy that forces young men and women to lie about who they are in order to defend their fellow citizens.”
While he said he supports allows gays to serve openly, Mullen said he doesn’t have complete knowledge of what the impact open service would have throughout the armed services and said further studies are necessary to evaluate this change.
During the hearing, Defense Secretary Robert Gates announced the creation of a working group that would determine what impact ending “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” would have on the armed services should Congress repeal the 1993 law. Gates also said during the hearing he supports President Obama’s goal of ending the ban on open service.
The hearing marked the first time in 17 years that the Senate took up the issue of gays in the military since the inception of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in 1993.
Check DC Agenda’s website later today for a more complete update on what happened during the Senate hearing.