No demerit for general who pushed gay ban

Associated Press / April 1, 2010

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WASHINGTON — A high-ranking Army general will not be formally reprimanded after urging troops to lobby to keep the ban on openly gay military service.

President Obama supports lifting the ban, and an active attempt to keep it in place could be considered insubordination.

But Lieutenant General Benjamin Mixon’s civilian boss says the three-star Army general will not receive a letter of reprimand or be forced to step down. Army Secretary John McHugh said yesterday that Mixon has been told by Army Chief of Staff General George Casey that what he did was inappropriate.

“The chief and I believe that he is now prepared to lead in the very distinguished manner in which he has led in the past and that brought him to a very, very high level three-star position,’’ McHugh said.

Mixon’s case underscores the difficulty facing Obama as he presses ahead to repeal the 1993 law. Pentagon officials say they want to hear troops’ opinions.

But unsolicited pushback could help to mobilize resistance within the ranks.