Admiral Michael Mullen, the chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said Wednesday that he supports repeal of
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the 1993 law that forbids gay troops
from serving openly.
Speaking to about 500 servicemembers at
a town hall session at Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado, Mullen
said he's comfortable with proposed repeal legislation, the American
Forces Press Service reported.
Mullen earlier had urged Congressional
leaders to delay repeal until after the Pentagon completes an
implementation study due in December.
On Monday, Democratic leaders and the
White House agreed on a compromise that delays repeal until after the
president and Pentagon leaders have checked off on its
“The language in there right now
preserves my prerogative – and I believe, my responsibility – to
give the best military advice,” he said.
“That trigger is to certify whether
we should move ahead with that change, even if the law were to repeal
it,” he told reporters following the session.
Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that lobbies for
repeal, thanked Mullen for his backing.
“Repeal is moving forward with the
support of the Pentagon and we welcome the comments by JCS Chairman
Admiral Michael Mullen,” Sarvis said.
Defense Secretary Robert
Gates has also endorsed the compromise.
Both houses of Congress
are expected to take up key votes on the issue Thursday or Friday.