Colin Powell Supports Marriage Equality
May 24th, 2012
In 1993, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Colin Powell was among those who supported the proposal enshrine the military’s ban on gays in the military under “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” It wouldn’t be until 2007 when he would begin to say that he thought the ban should be revisited, and he waited until 2010 as DADT’s repeal was working its way through Congress before finally calling for the ban to be lifted. Yesterday, Powell added his voice to those who support marriage equality:
I have no problem with it. And, it was the Congress that imposed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ though it was certainly my position and my recommendation to get us out of an even worse outcome that could have occurred, as you’ll recall. But as I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones, and they are as stable a family as my family is, and they raise children. And so I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married.”
What do past Military leaders say about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell?
February 16th, 2010
Those who are desperately looking for an excuse to continue supporting Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the anti-gay military policy, are trying to downplay the efforts of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense as being an anomaly. They remind the public that the call for the repeal of a ban on open gay service men and women is their “individual opinion” and act as though it is non-representative.
But Admiral Mullen is not the only person to serve as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Robert Gates is not our first Secretary of Defense. Nor are they the first to weigh in on this issue.
Not all such military leaders have public statements. And some have positions that can only be deduced from indirect statements. But here is what I’ve found:
Chairmen of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
- Michael Mullen
10/1/07 – present
Called for repeal
- Peter Pace
10/1/05 – 9/30/07
- Richard B. Myers
10/1/01 – 9/30/05
Position unknown, perhaps opposed
- Hugh Shelton
10/1/97 – 9/30/01
- John Shalikashvili
10/25/93 – 9/30/97
Called for repeal
- David Jeremiah
10/1/93 – 10/24/93
- Colin Powell
10/1/89 – 9/30/93
Secretaries of Defense
- Robert Gates (R)
12/18/06 – present
Called for repeal
- Donald Rumsfeld (R)
1/20/01 – 12/18/06
- William Cohen (R)
1/24/97 – 1/20/01
Called for repeal
- William Perry (D)
2/3/94 – 1/24/97
- Leslie Aspin (D)
1/21/93 – 2/3/94
- Dick Cheney (R)
3/21/89 – 1/20/93
It would appear that Mullen and Gates are closer to the rule than to the exception.
Colin Powell endorses plan to reverse DADT
February 3rd, 2010
Three times before, Gen. Colin Powell who served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under Bill Clinton and Secretary of State under George W. Bush, has suggested that the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy be revisited. Now, like Gen. Shalikashvili, he believes the time has come to repeal the ban on open service. (NY Times)
“In the almost 17 years since the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” General Powell said in a statement issued by his office. He added: “I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen.”
Colin Powell Calls for Review of DADT, But Not Its Repeal
July 5th, 2009
Former Secretary of State Colin Powell said this morning that the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy he helped create should be revisited. He refused to call for its repeal however:
I was withholding judgment because the commanders of the armed forces of the United States and the Joint Chiefs of Staff need to study it and make recommendations to the president, and have hearings before the Congress before a decision is made,” he added. “It is not just a matter of old generals who, you know, are just too high-bound. There are lots of complicated issues with respect to this, and I think all of those issues should be illuminated.
Does anyone have any idea what those “complicated issues” might be? Does anyone think that having gays and lesbians serve in the military is at all complicated? I mean, after all, they exist everywhere else in civilian life, and they are increasingly serving in the military with the full knowledge of their fellow soldiers, sailors and airmen. So what are they afraid of?
Colin Powell Thinks DADT Should Be “Reevaluated”; Ken Blackwell Thinks He Knows Better
December 11th, 2008
Former secretary of State and retired general Colin Powell has again voiced support for reevaluating “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military. Powell told CNN’s Fareed Zakaria for Sunday’s GPS program that “We should be reevaluating it.” A clip from that interview was played on Wolf Blitzer’s The Situation Room today:
We definitely should reevaluate it. It’s been 15 years since we put in DADT which was a policy that became a law. I didn’t want it to become a law but it became a law. Congress felt that strongly about it. But it’s been 15 years and attitudes have changed and so I think it is time for the Congress, since it is their law, to have a full review of it, and I’m quite sure that’s what President-elect Obama will want to do.
That clip was immediately followed by an interview between Wolf Blitzer and Ken Blackwell, the former Ohio Secretary of State who is running for chairman of the Republican Party. Blackwell is also a senior fellow the Family “Research” Council, a credential that Blitzer failed to mention. Blitzer asked Blackwell whether he agreed with Powell that DADT ought to be reevaluated:
KB: No I don’t. I don’t have General Powell’s experience in the military, but I think that the present policy is working and should be held in place.
WB: Because a lot of gays don’t think it’s working. They think a lot of talented young men and women who happen to be gay, they’re getting kicked out even after the U.S. taxpayer spends hundreds of thousands of dollars training them for sophisticated missions.
KB: Well I think the legislative process works. I think this issue has been vetted, discussed, debated and decided upon, and it works.
Gen. Powell last addressed DADT in July during an inteview with the late Tim Russert. At that time, Powell demurred when asked about DADT, saying, “the country certainly has changed” since 1993, when DADT was enacted. “I don’t know that it has changed so much that this would be the right thing to do now,” he added.