Colin PowellFormer Secretary of State and retired Army general Colin Powell joined the chorus of officials urging an end to the military’s ban on gays serving openly.

Powell previously opposed allowing gays to serve in the military, opposing former President Bill Clinton’s efforts to end the ban in 1993.

“In the past 17 years since the ‘Don’t ask, don’t tell’ legislation was passed, attitudes and circumstances have changed,” Powell said Wednesday.

“I fully support the new approach presented to the Senate Armed Services Committee this week,” Powell said.

Powell’s change of heart came a day after Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates endorsed Obama’s call to lift the ban.

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