June 21, 2012 at 5:26 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Mullen to headline event celebrating end to ‘Don’t Ask’

Adm. Michael Mullen (Blade file photo by Michael Key)

The former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff who played a key role in the legislative repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” is set to appear at an event celebrating the one-year anniversary of the end to the military’s gay ban.

Adm. Mike Mullen, who served as the top uniformed military advisor to the president from 2007 to 2011, is headlining an event scheduled for Sept. 18 hosted by Servicemembers Legal Defense Network aboard the USS Intrepid in New York City.

The event will take place around a year after “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was lifted from the books and gay service members could start serving openly without fear of discharge from the U.S. military. The ban was lifted on Sept. 20, 2011.

On Feb. 2010, Mullen gave testimony before the Senate that was seen as the impetus for legislative action that ultimately led to repeal of the military’s gay ban.

“Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do,” Mullen said. “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.”

Mullen retired shortly after he certified on July 22 along with President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that the military was ready for open service. He’s been replaced as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey.

CORRECTION: An initial version of this article incorrectly stated that the event is happening on the same date that “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” was lifted last year. The Blade regrets the error.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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