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Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff nominee: DADT should be revisited

When Bush announced Admiral John Mullen as his nominee to succeed General Peter Pace as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, it wasn’t clear whether he would be in favor of lifting the ban on gays and lesbians openly serving in the military.

The first hint of change came when I located a transcript of a speech Admiral Mullen gave at The Brookings Institution in April of this year. He said: “If it’s time to revisit that policy, the American people I believe — and we live in a country — the American people ought to raise that issue and we’ll have the debate.”

In a hearing today, he reiterated that belief. (SLDN):

Admiral John Mullen, President Bush’s nominee to succeed General Peter Pace as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was questioned about the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel during a Senate hearing Tuesday.  Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine queried Mullen on the continued dismissal of gay troops under the ban.  While confirming that he would implement the current law, Mullen also told Collins that “I really think it is for the American people to come forward, really through this body, to both debate that policy and make changes, if that’s appropriate.” He went on to say that, “I’d love to have Congress make its own decisions” with respect to considering repeal.  Mullen’s remarks follow a firestorm of controversy surrounding comments by Pace referring to gay personnel as “immoral” during a March interview with the Chicago Tribune.

…”Admiral Mullen’s remarks are a welcome change of pace among military leadership, where there has long been an adversity to encouraging debate on opening the services to lesbian and gay patriots,” said Sharra E. Greer, director of law and policy for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).  “As Senator Collins rightly pointed out, there is growing concern among the national security establishment that the loss of talented gay troops is having a detrimental impact on our armed forces.  Admiral Mullen should be applauded for his willingness to take part in a national conversation about that issue, and for his open-minded approach to working with Congress as they consider the future of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.'”

Ah, do you hear the sounds of fundie heads exploding. Expect a shrill press release from homophobe Elaine Donnelly of the Center for Military Readiness shortly.

Flashback to prior posts:
* Former AFA columnist blasts the org over its defense of Pace’s ‘immorality’ comments
* Advocacy groups turn up the heat on Clinton and Obama
* Obama and Clinton botch the ‘immorality’ question; Edwards answers it directly
* ACT UP protest of General Pace’s comments
* Republican Senator Warner trashed by WND columnist, Freepers for condemning Pace
* Sam Brownback ‘commends Pace’s leadership, personal commitment to moral principles’
* Faith, morality and a message to General Pace
* Former Sen. Simpson crushes Gen. Pace, DADT in op-ed
* Anti-gay military hack Elaine Donnelly surfaces to comment on Pace 
* Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff: gays are ‘immoral’
* Gen. Pace: no apologies for calling gays immoral

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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