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The New York Times profiles Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and how he came to make his statement Tuesday that "allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would be the right thing to do." Many factors came into play, not including his experience as the son of a Hollywood press agent.
Admiral Mullen announced his support for repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" at the congressional hearing about the policy Tuesday.
"The story behind that sentence, Admiral Mullen's friends and associates said on Wednesday, is a long one," reports the Times. "Admiral Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, settled on his opinion over years, they said."
"He was really looking to be sure there was something we hadn't thought through," Gen. Anthony Zinni, a retired Marine and longtime Mullen acquaintance, told the Times. "How are we going to handle a gay member who is married in one state but is stationed in another that doesn't approve of gay marriage? How are we going to handle troops who are uncomfortable around gay members? Are we going to force people to accept openly gay roommates? What about people who want to leave the service because of it?"
An early experience with show business did not affect his opinion, however.
"Admiral Mullen, the low-intensity former commander of a guided missile destroyer, has long rejected the notion that growing up in a show-business household (his father's clients included the actors Anthony Quinn and Julie Andrews) helped shape his views on 'don't ask, don't tell," reports the Times. "He has described his upbringing as one of Catholic schools and relatively modest means, requiring him to jump at the chance of a free education when he was recruited to play basketball for the Naval Academy in Annapolis."