Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen — who is stepping down today — told NPR’s Steve Inskeep last night that he has not received any negative feedback following the official repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, saying, “There haven’t been any incidents. In fact, the -– you know, after the initial significant publicity associated with that change, it’s been pretty quiet.” “We need to move on,” he added.
Mullen said that while military was now working to extend benefits to gay and lesbian servicemembers, the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act is still a roadblock to full equality:
MULLEN: The question I get is about benefits. And there are some benefits, clearly, that are -– that accrue to the change which has already taken place, and there are other benefits which are brought up which are directly tied to DOMA, which is the Defense of Marriage Act, which is a law in the country -– and we follow the law. And until -– if and when that changes –- I mean, we’ll follow whatever law is out there. Right now -– so there are benefits that DOMA has tied up by virtue of what -– the details that it specifically lays out and so until that changes, there’s not going to be any change to the benefits.
Listen to the interview:
But the chairman — who in February 2010 told the Senate Armed Services Committee that repeal “comes down to integrity” — dodged a question about whether allowing gays and lesbians the right to marry is an issue of integrity. “From my perspective, the major issue with respect to integrity had to do with the need to cover up your life with -– lie about who you were, lie about your personal relationships, constantly –- as a way of life,” he said. “And to me, that’s fundamentally different from whether benefit A, B or C should be given to certain individuals.”