Top Military Officials Speak Out in Support of Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal; Media Responds

Secretary General Robert M. Gates

Yesterday, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael G. Mullen, told the Senate Armed Services Committee that he personally supports the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell (DADT) because “it’s the right thing to do.”

Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates also spoke about the repeal, saying it “is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it.”

Today, mainstream media are reacting to the military officials’ call to scrap the ban on openly gay service members in the United States armed forces.

The New York Times published an editorial today that echoes the call to lift the ban:

The United States has traveled far since 1993 on gay rights. It is ready for a military built on a commitment to equal rights for all.

The editorial also counters Rep. John Boehner’s (R-OH) assertion that it is not the right time to end the ban amidst two wars. “In fact, it is an ideal time,” says The New York Times. “The armed forces need every qualified person who wants to serve.”

The Los Angeles Times also published an op-ed today in favor of repeal. In it, Senior Research Fellow at the Palm Center, Nathaniel Frank, writes that the military’s newly announced year-long assessment of DADT “is nothing but a delaying tactic.”

“The issue has been studied for half a century,” Frank writes. “… It only gives political obstructionists and moral opponents of equality for gays the chance to sow doubt and fear in an effort to derail reform.”

In response to Senator John McCain’s (R-AZ) firm remarks at yesterday’s Senate hearings in opposition to a possible repeal, MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow pointed out last night that Sen. McCain once supported an end to the ban and goes on to interview Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach who stands strong in favor of the repeal.

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Meanwhile, former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Colin Powell, also voiced his support for a repeal in a statement from his office today:

In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed. I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.

GLAAD continues to work with national news outlets to ensure that the concrete harms inflicted by DADT are exposed in both print and broadcast media.