Former President Bill Clinton, who
signed “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” into law, says former Chairman of
the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell convinced him on the policy.
Speaking Tuesday with CBS Evening News
anchor Katie Couric, Clinton said that he didn't choose the policy
that allows gay troops to serve in the military provided they remain
closeted and celibate.
“I accepted it because it was better
than an absolute ban,” he said. “I was promised it would be
better than it was.”
Clinton campaigned on the promise that
he would allow gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military.
He told Couric that he only backed DADT
after it was clear Congress was heading in the opposite direction and
that Powell sold him on the compromise.
“Now, when Colin Powell sold me on
don't pass, don't tell, here's what he said it would be. Gay service
members would never get in trouble for going to gay bars, marching in
gay rights parades as long as they weren't in uniform. That was what
they were promised. … That's a very different 'Don't Ask, Don't
Tell' than we got.”
“But the world has changed now,” he
continued, “there's a huge shift in opinion, and I think we're
going to prevail in this.”
was asked about the policy on the same day Republican Senators
blocked an effort to repeal the 1993 law.
Powell has said he now favors repeal of