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Cheney supports repeal of DADT policy

WASHINGTON _ In another blow to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy about gays and lesbians serving their country, former Vice President Dick Cheney said the time is right to repeal the controversial law.

Cheney, who was appearing on ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday morning, is a former defense secretary who has a lesbian daughter.

“Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of ‘Don't Ask/Don't Tell,’ when I was secretary of defense,” Cheney said. “I think things have changed significantly since then. I see that Don Mullen -- or Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has indicated his belief that we ought to support a change in the policy. So I think -- my guess is the policy will be changed.”

Cheney was asked if the change would be a good thing and whether it is time to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

“I think the society has moved on. I think it's partly a generational question,” Cheney said.

“I say, I'm reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard, because they're the ones that have got to make the judgment about how these policies affect the military capability of our -- of our units, and that first requirement that you have to look at all the time is whether or not they're still capable of achieving their mission, and does the policy change, i.e., putting gays in the force, affect their ability to perform their mission?
“When the chiefs come forward and say, `We think we can do it,’ then it strikes me that it's -- it's time to reconsider the policy. And I think Admiral Mullen said that.”

Cheney’s support for repealing DADT is in line with his sometimes progressive thinking on gay-rights issues. He has advocated for same-sex marriage as long as it is not sanctioned by the state or federal government.

Meanwhile, 75 percent of Americans say they support openly gay people serving in the U.S. military, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll released late last week. A New York Times/CBS poll also showed that a majority of Americans were in favor of repealing DADT.

Ken Williams can be reached at ken@sdgln.com or by calling (877) 727-5446, Extension 713.