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Repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' Supported by Solid Majority

5 years ago
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A solid majority of Americans say gays should be allowed to openly serve in the military, and an even higher percentage believe that the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy in effect since 1993 amounts to discrimination, according to a Quinnipiac University poll conducted Feb. 2-8.

Fifty-seven percent said the law prohibiting openly gay men and women from serving in the military should be repealed while 36 percent do not, with 6 percent undecided. Seventy-two percent of Democrats back repeal, as do 56 percent of independents, while 53 percent of Republicans oppose it. Though majorities of men and women support repeal, women feel far more strongly about it, with 62 percent calling for such action compared to 51 percent of men.

President Obama said in his State of the Union address that it was time to take action on repeal, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Feb. 2 that they support doing so.

Sixty-six percent of those polled think the current policy amounts to discrimination while 31 percent don't, with 3 percent undecided. On this question, Republicans echo Democrats and independents, although by a far smaller percentage. Republicans call it discrimination by a 50-46 margin, while 80 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of independents hold that view.

Sixty-five percent disagree with the assertion that allowing gays to openly serve in the military would be divisive and hurt the ability of troops to fight effectively. But 54 percent said there should be restrictions on gay service members exhibiting their sexual orientation on the job, while 38 percent say there should be not restrictions. Voters are evenly split on whether heterosexual military personnel should be required to share quarters with gay service members.

Eighty-two percent say the military should stop pursuing disciplinary action by soldiers whose sexual orientation is revealed by third parties. Military brass, in fact, have decided to stop doing so.

Fifty percent oppose the idea that the Pentagon should provide for the domestic partners of gay personnel, while 43 percent said it should, with 8 percent undecided.

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Filed Under: Gay Rights, Polls, Poll Watch

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