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Retired Army Gen. Colin L. Powell, whose opposition to allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the military helped lead to adoption of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” legislation 17 years ago, said Wednesday that he now thinks the restrictive law should be repealed.“Attitudes and circumstances have changed,” Powell said. “It’s been a whole generation” since the legislation was adopted, and there is increased “acceptance of gays and lesbians in society,” he said. “Society is always reflected in the military. It’s where we get our soldiers from.”

At the same time, he said, “we’ve had a lot of experience watching what other nations have done.” Of 28 NATO member countries, a small minority prohibit or restrict service based on sexual orientation.

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