As reported in today's L.A. Times:
Reporting from Washington - The nation's top military officer said Tuesday that he supported allowing gays to openly serve -- adding a powerful voice to the deeply controversial issue as the Pentagon announced steps to prepare for possibly ending its 17-year ban on homosexuality.
Adm. Michael G. Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in an appearance before the Senate Armed Services Committee that the military would follow the 1993 law known as "don't ask, don't tell." Nonetheless, he said, his personal views were firm.
"Speaking for myself and myself only, it is my personal belief that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do," Mullen said.
His views are particularly important in the debate. It was one of his predecessors, Gen. Colin L. Powell, who played a major role in derailing then- President Clinton's failed bid to allow gays to serve openly in the military. In 1993, Powell called the policy a "healthy compromise." But in December 2008, he said the ban should be reviewed.