WASHINGTON – Former US vice president Dick Cheney said Sunday it was "time to reconsider" the ban on gays serving openly in the US military.
"Twenty years ago, the military were strong advocates of 'don't ask-don't tell,' when I was secretary of defense. I think things have changed significantly since then," Cheney told ABC's "This Week."
"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."
Earlier this month, Admiral Mike Mullen became the first chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to endorse repealing the 1993 law that requires service members to keep quiet about their sexual orientation or face expulsion from the military.
"I think the society has moved on. I think it's partly a generational question," said Cheney, who has an openly gay daughter.
Obama, who had postponed action on the issue in his first year in office, renewed his vow last month to change the 1993 ban.
Wading into politically sensitive territory, Mullen said in dramatic testimony to a Senate panel on February 2 that the issue "comes down to integrity, theirs as individuals and ours as an institution."
The admiral said he was optimistic that members of the military "can and would accommodate such a change," saying he had learned never to "underestimate their ability to adapt."
As the highest ranking officer in the country's armed forces, Mullen's unequivocal words carried special weight and provided substantial counter to those lawmakers who argue the military opposes the change.
© AFP 2013