Perkins Falsely Suggests DADT Repeal Lacks Public, Military Support

In a Washington Times op-ed, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins falsely suggested that repealing “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” lacks support from military officials and the public. In fact, numerous military officials and an overwhelming majority of Americans support repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

Perkins Says Mullen Is “The One Prominent Military Supporter” Of Repealing DADT

Perkins: “The One Prominent Military Supporter Of President Obama's Proposal” To Repeal DADT is Adm. Mullen. In his December 9 column, Perkins stated, “The one prominent military supporter of President Obama's proposal is his chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Michael Mullen.” From Perkins' column:

The one prominent military supporter of President Obama's proposal is his chairman of the Joint Chiefs, Adm. Michael Mullen.

But Adm. Mullen's views are clearly outside of the military mainstream, as his testimony reveals. Adm. Mullen said that “should repeal occur, some soldiers and Marines may want separate shower facilities, some may ask for different berthing, some may even quit the service. We'll deal with that.” [Perkins' Washington Times op-ed, 12/9/10]

In Fact, Numerous Military Officials Besides Mullen Support Repealing DADT

More Than 100 Retired Generals and Admirals Have Called For DADT's Repeal. The Palm Center, a University of California research institute, has posted on its website a list of more than 100 retired generals and admirals who “support the recent comments of former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General John Shalikashvili, who has concluded that repealing the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy would not harm and would indeed help our armed forces.” [, accessed 12/10/10]

Gates: “I Fully Support” Decision To Repeal DADT. In his February 2 testimony, Defense Secretary Robert Gates stated:

GATES: Chairman, last week during the State of the Union Address, the president announced he will work with Congress this year to repeal the law known as “don't ask, don't tell.” He subsequently directed the Department of Defense to begin the preparations necessary for a repeal of the current law and policy. I fully support the president's decision. [Senate testimony, 2/2/10]

Former Defense Secretary and Former Vice President Dick Cheney has called for repeal. During a February 14 interview on ABC's This Week, when asked whether it is “time to allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military,” former Defense Secretary and Vice President Dick Cheney replied:

CHENEY: Well, I think the society has moved on. I think it's partly a generational question. I say I'm reluctant to second-guess the military in this regard because they're the ones who 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 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 time to reconsider the policy. And I think Admiral Mullen's said that. [, 2/14/10]

Gen. Powell Stated His Support For Allowing Gays and Lesbians To Serve, Cited Change In “Attitudes And Circumstances.” A February 4 Washington Post article reported:

Retired Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, whose opposition to allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military helped lead to adoption of the “don't ask, don't tell” legislation 17 years ago, said Wednesday that he now thinks the restrictive law should be repealed.

“Attitudes and circumstances have changed,” Powell said. “It's been a whole generation” since the legislation was adopted, and there is increased “acceptance of gays and lesbians in society,” he said. “Society is always reflected in the military. It's where we get our soldiers from.” [The Washington Post, 2/4/10]

Gen. Shalikashvili called for repeal of DADT and open service by gays and lesbians. In a January 2007 New York Times op-ed, General John Shalikashvili, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when DADT was implemented, wrote:

I now believe that if gay men and lesbians served openly in the United States military, they would not undermine the efficacy of the armed forces.


By taking a measured, prudent approach to change, political and military leaders can focus on solving the nation's most pressing problems while remaining genuinely open to the eventual and inevitable lifting of the ban. [The New York Times, 1/2/07]

Gen. Jones: "[Y]oung Men And Women Who Wish To Serve Their Country Should Not Have To Lie In Order To Do That." In a February 14 interview on CNN's State of the Union, Gen. James Jones, currently the National Security Adviser, stated:

JONES: I think that what Secretary Gates and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff articulated in testimony is the right thing to do. I think the president has signaled his intent. This is a policy that has to evolve with the social norms of what's acceptable and what's not. [Transcript of CNN's February 14 State of the Union transcript, accessed 12/10/10]

Asked whether it's “time to lift” DADT, Jones replied:

JONES: I think times have changed. I think I was very much taken by Admiral Mullen's view that young men and women who wish to serve their country should not have to lie in order to do that. [Transcript of CNN's February 14 State of the Union transcript, accessed 12/10/10]

Pentagon Report: “70-76% Of Service Members Said Repeal Would Have A Positive, A Mixed, Or No Effect On Aspects Of Task Cohesion.” According to the Pentagon's recently released report on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, when asked about the effect of repeal on task cohesion, personal readiness, and unit readiness, majorities of the service members surveyed said they expected a “positive, mixed, or no effect.” From the report [emphasis added]:

The Service member survey asked a number of questions on Service members' views about the effect of repeal on unit cohesion, including task and social cohesion. Task cohesion is a unit's ability to work together effectively, whereas social cohesion is a unit's ability to get along and trust one another. Overall, 70-76% of Service members said repeal would have a positive, a mixed, or no effect on aspects of task cohesion. Similarly, 67-78% of Service members said repeal would have a positive, mixed, or no effect on aspects of social cohesion. [Pentagon report on Don't Ask, Don't Tell, Page 64, 11/30/10]

Perkins Suggests Majority Of Americans Do Not Support DADT Repeal

Perkins: “Vast Majority” Of Americans “Stand With The Marines” Who Oppose DADT Repeal. From Perkins' op-ed:

But possible policy consequences of overturning DADT aside, Democrats should remember that 63 House members were fired from Congress because they obeyed Mrs. Pelosi, Mr. Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid instead of the American people. The 23 Democratic senators up for re-election in 2012 might want to consider how they will address veterans groups and religious organizations regarding their vote.

On Nov. 2, the American people rejected this rush mentality to passing legislation. Liberals are demanding that DADT be overturned now, but the Marines say no. We stand with the Marines, and so do the vast majority of the American people. Yesterday's cloture vote means the message might be getting through. [Perkins' Washington Times op-ed, 12/10/10]

Many Recent Polls Find Public Overwhelmingly Supports Gay Men And Lesbians Serving Openly In The Military

Gallup: 67% “Support Repealing 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell.'” A Gallup poll conducted December 3-6 found that “67% of Americans say they would vote for a law that would allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military.” Twenty-eight percent opposed repealing the law. The poll findings added, “More than 60% of Americans since 2005 have said they favor allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the U.S. military, including majorities of the most conservative segments of the population.” [, 12/9/10]

CBS News: 69% Favor “Allow[ing] Gay Men And Lesbians To Serve Openly In The Military.” A CBS News poll conducted November 29 through December 2 found that 69 percent favor “Allow[ing] Gay Men And Lesbians To Serve Openly In The Military,” while 23 percent oppose it. [CBS News poll, 12/3/10]

CNN/Opinion Research: 72% Favor Permitting Openly Gay And Lesbian Soldiers To Serve. A CNN/Opinion Research poll conducted by November 11-14 found that 72 percent of respondents favored “permitting people who are openly gay or lesbian to serve in the military.” [CNN/Opinion Research poll, accessed 12/10/10]

Pew Research Center: 58% “Favor Allowing Homosexuals To Serve Openly In The Armed Forces.” A Pew Research Center poll conducted November 4-7 found that “most Americans (58%) favor allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the armed forces.” The poll findings noted, “Fewer than half that number (27%) oppose allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly.” [Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, 11/29/10]

Quinnipiac: 58% Support Repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell. A November Quinnipiac poll asked, “Federal law currently prohibits openly gay men and women from serving in the military. Do you think this law should be repealed or not?” Fifty-eight percent of respondents said “yes” while 34 percent said “no.” [Quinnipiac poll, 11/18/10]