Navy Secretary Ray Mabus said during a Senate Armed Services Panel on Thursday that he personally believes gays and lesbians should be able to serve openly in the military.
He did stress that his thoughts were personal, and that ultimately, the Navy would follow laws passed by Congress and orders from President Obama, according to Military Times.
"I think it's important to remember that we have gays in the military right now," he said. "It's only a question of whether they can serve openly or not, and I think the chairman of the joint chiefs set out that case pretty well," he said. "Next, I think that it's important to distinguish between orientation and conduct. We have lots of rules in the military, in the Navy and Marine Corps, about conduct and heterosexual conduct, that we enforce very stringently and very specifically. And I think that we've got to be careful to separate orientation, which is what we're talking about, and conduct."