February 3rd, 2010
01:24 PM ET
5 years ago

Powell backs repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'

 'In the almost seventeen years since the Don't Ask, Don't Tell legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,' Colin Powell said in a statement released Wednesday.
'In the almost seventeen years since the Don't Ask, Don't Tell legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,' Colin Powell said in a statement released Wednesday.

Washington (CNN) – Colin Powell, the former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former Secretary of State, has come out in favor of eventually repealing the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on gay and lesbian service members.

"In the almost seventeen years since the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed," Powell said in a statement released by his office Wednesday.

Powell added that he believes the ultimate decision about the policy should be made by President Obama, the nation's commander-in-chief; the military's top brass; and Congress.

"I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week by Secretary of Defense Gates and Admiral Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. I will be closely following future hearings, the views of the Service Chiefs and the implementation work being done by the Department of Defense," Powell also said Wednesday.

Appearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, Gates and Mullen said the military is preparing for a repeal of the policy.

Mullen told senators it is his "personal belief" that "allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly [in the military] would be the right thing to do."

"The question before us is not whether the military prepares to make this change, but how we best prepare for it," Defense Secretary Gates told senators Tuesday. "We have received our orders from the commander in chief and we are moving out accordingly."

The ultimate decision about repealing the policy rests with Capitol Hill. Last week during his first State of the Union address, President Obama called on Congress to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."


Filed under: Colin Powell • Don't Ask Don't Tell
soundoff (62 Responses)
  1. Stacie

    I heard the Republicans say...we need to listen to the generals. Well, now that current and retired military leaders have spoken in favor of the President's plan, what will the obstructionists use as an excuse to be against this plan???

    February 3, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  2. Dick_NH

    Colin Powell = Real American Hero

    John McCain = Real American Flip-Flopper

    February 3, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. WhileAway

    Colin Powell is wrong. Who's attitudes have changes? His? What circumstances? Except that obumbo is in office and stirring the flames again. Is that the circumstance he's talking about. Homosexuality is still a deviant behavior, it's abnormal, and may be okay for Hollywood and TV shows, and the streets of San Francisco, but it is not okay for our military. What obumbo is trying to do is sugar-coat the homosexual lifestyle like if its okay in the civilian world it will be okay in the military. He's wrong too. Is he going to re-write the Uniform Code of Military Justice?

    February 3, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  4. An 8 year old ELEPHANT dung heap, does not transform into compost in just 1 year!

    And senile old McCrypt was whining yesterday that the Pentagon did not get input from Congress.

    The old bitter little man forgot he stated he would go along with the militiary leaders and whatever they decided.

    That would Gates and now Powell who were both in charge when you made those statements you forgetful half-twit.

    Geezer/Gidget 2012 AGAIN!

    February 3, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  5. peter

    Powell is a decent man. Hopefully he'll reject the current course of the GOP soon. Would be great is he switched party.

    February 3, 2010 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  6. csh

    Powell is a coward. He should have had the courage to support gays in the military back in 1993.

    February 3, 2010 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  7. sensible Cape coral FL

    The Generals are always complaining about not having enough troops. If that's true how can they possibly be against "Don't Ask – Don't tell"? Hypocracy perhaps?

    February 3, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  8. sifto77

    Powell is, of course, changing his tune to support Obama–I understand that he coined the phrase himself.....Not that I do not agree with him–it should be left up to the brave men and women fighting for all Americans–not politicians....

    February 3, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  9. gary davis harbor oregon

    THANK YOU MR POWELL AND LETS MAKE THIS HAPPEN . EVERY SOLDIER IS AN AMERICAN AND I AM PROUD TO HAVE SERVED ,AND I AM PROUD OF ANY ONE GAY OR OTHERWISE THAT SERVES THIS GREAT NATION . LETS MOVE FORWARDAND NOT BACKWARD WITH RELIGIOUS BIGOTRY AND REPUBLICAN NOT SUPPORTING OUR COUNTRY AND LETS CONTINUE TO SUPPORT OUR PRESIDENT MR. OBAMA AND THE ADMINISTRATION :)

    February 3, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  10. T'SAH from Virginia

    U GO BOY!!! I really loved Colin Powell even when he was a RepubliCAN'T – (if he TRULY was a RepubliCAN'T...LOL).

    It is great to see that President Obama is going to ACHIEVE all that he has PROMISED in his campaign after all...........YES WE CAN!!!

    February 3, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. Nana5

    Mr. Powell, with all due respect – do you really think anyone with even half a brain cares what you think????? Not me. Go back in your box and stay there. You had your chance and blew it so go away.

    February 3, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  12. Jim in San Mateo

    Now here is a sign of Military Intelligence.

    Not sure why the military is shooting itself in the foot by discharging thousands of soldiers, many of whom are schooled in Arabic and cost over $30,000 to replace.

    February 3, 2010 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
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