A series of previously-secret files detailing the inner workings of the Clinton Administration were released Friday – including an account of a pivotal January 1993 meeting between Al Gore, Bill Clinton, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Colin Powell and others about the role of gays in the military.
Clinton, who had campaigned on a pledge to end the ban on military service by gays and lesbians, faced stiff opposition by numerous military leaders at the meeting, Politico reports:
Powell said he was making “no moral judgment” on gays but believed “they can best serve in other areas.”
Clinton told the chiefs: “The whole thing on both sides cause[s] me great discom[fort]. Men and women who [are] patriotic [and] served w/ dist[inction are] otherwise highly conformist pers[onally] in [the] best sense…[I] believe some are born gay and others not. [The] job of soc[iety] is not to disc[riminate] on [the] basis of moral judgement. [It’s my] belief gay friends should be able to serve.”
Clinton heard strong disagreement from Powell and the other chiefs. Marine Commandant Gen. Carl Mundy [right] may have been the most strident opponent of allowing gays to serve openly. Quoting someone involved in a Queer Nation parade, Mundy said people associated with “gay pride” are licentious and unconstrained by law or morality. Mundy, who died earlier this year, also suggested that announcing “I’m gay” was the “same as I’m KKK, Nazi, rapist,” the notes show.
The notes also describe a separate meeting in which top officials discussed Mundy's malicious comments.
“When I heard [the] Marine Gen[eral] I just said—I have to give my own view,” Clinton said. “Al really helped.”
Gore added that he thought Mundy was “borderline in his presentation,” especially when he compared gays to Nazis.
Clinton did not agree with Gore that Mundy’s remarks were out of line, the notes say, adding that he thought the Marine commandant “meant it well.”
When asked about Mundy's now public comments, Powell told Politico, “Carl Mundy who died recently was the most outspoken, but I don’t think that he crossed a line, nor has that ever been mentioned to me.”
Head over to Politico HERE for a more thorough breakdown of the behind-the-scenes lead-up to Don't Ask, Don't Tell.