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Most Americans Support Allowing Gays to Serve Openly in Military, Poll Finds

4 years ago
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The Defense Department has said it plans to release its report Tuesday on the impact of repealing the military's "don't-ask-don't-tell policy" regarding gays in the military in hoping of pushing along a Senate vote on the issue during its lame-duck session. A new Pew Research Center survey says a clear majority of Americans continue to support allowing gay and lesbian soldiers to serve openly.

Fifty-eight percent of those surveyed in a poll conducted Nov. 4-7 say they favor allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military while 27 percent are opposed, with 16 percent undecided. This is consistent with findings dating back to 1995, in which roughly 6 out of 10 Americans take this position.

Along partisan lines, Republicans are opposed to any change by 44 percent to 40 percent with 17 percent undecided, with those describing themselves as "conservative" opposing repeal by 52 percent to 28 percent. Republicans who say they agree with tea party movement positions oppose any lifting of the ban by 48 percent to 38 percent with 15 percent undecided.

don't ask don't tellDemocrats support allowing homosexuals to serve openly by 70 percent to 18 percent, with 13 percent undecided, as do independents by a margin of 62 percent to 23 percent with 14 percent undecided.

Women favor repeal of DADT more than men, by a 63 percent to 21 percent margin compared to 52 percent to 32 percent. The remainder in each case are undecided.

The issue is expected to come before the Senate as part of a larger defense funding bill, and some senators have said they want to see the Pentagon report before a vote is held. The Washington Post says that the report is expected to conclude that the ban can be lifted with only minimal risk to morale or national security.

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27 Comments

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druid0621

This nugget of brilliance comes from the same bunch that elected Obama. What the public thinks is irrelevant. The only thing that matters is what our line troops believe. A West Pointer who recently finished his commitment told me very clearly that most troops do NOT support open service by homosexuals. The military is not equal to civilian society, and the same open-mindedness cannot always be applied.

December 03 2010 at 12:43 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Jack & Kathy

As a Veteran I do not feel that allowing gays to OPENLY serve would benefit anyone. You must have cohesion in a team/squad/platoon setting and I do not feel that having homosexuality open would promote cohesion at any level. There are a lot of things that go on in the military that most people do not know about and may find offensive. I served in the mid 70's and was aware of several gay service personnel but they kept it to themselves and had no problem with that. Dont ask dont tell policy is about as common sense as you can get! The Military is not a place for social experimenting or individual statements! If you have never been in the Military you do not know what it is like and should not have input. Do not change the current policy is my opinion. We knew what went on but it was not open and created no problems, leave well enough alone.

December 01 2010 at 10:21 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jack & Kathy's comment
brigittepj

So, because you are uncomfortable around others who are openly gay and you are the majority, you want to continue to force gays, the minority, to live a lie in order to serve their country. Sure, DADT is a common sense policy for the heterosexual majority in the military, but it is a violation of the Constitutional rights of gays. You know that document on which our country is founded? The one that guarantees ALL citizens the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. The one that guarantees equal protection under the law. As Gates says, if Congress doesn't act, it's only a matter of time before the courts overturn it. Seriously, why should a gay service member have to hide who he/she is at the risk of being discharged to make you comfortable serving next to him/her? Frankly, it's not the gays that are the problem, it's you and others like you who want to keep them oppressed because of your personal phobias. I served in the Army for over 24 years, BTW, so I know a bit about what I'm saying here.

December 01 2010 at 11:19 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
jmlthemort

How about "polling" only those who have actually served in the military under "wartime" conditions. Bet cha get different results. I still have a problem with women serving in frontline units

November 30 2010 at 3:13 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to jmlthemort's comment
ivotedabsentee

Considering the number of members of the armed forces who have deployed in Southwest Asia over the past 10 years or so, it is probably a very good chance the vast majoirty of those polled have been deployed.

December 01 2010 at 7:15 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
brigittepj

Well, I'm glad they didn't poll you if you have a problem with women serving in frontline units. Good thing civilians make military policy and not bigoted service members or, God knows, our military would consist of a small band of white men.

December 01 2010 at 11:23 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
oldengineera2

Most Americans know very little about the military. While I applauded the end of the draft (which swept me up in the 60's for Johnson's adventure in nation-building), something has been lost with the all-volunteer force. The wider cross-section of servicepersons in the WWII to Viet Nam era exposed more people to the services, and the services to a broader slice of our society.

November 29 2010 at 8:17 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
vobox3343

We understand that these newly elected members of Congress will be honoring the wishes of the majority? We anxiously await January.

November 29 2010 at 6:02 PM Report abuse -7 rate up rate down Reply
GRAMIE

If gays are willing to fight and die for their country, that is their right. In all wars what are we fighting for. freedom.................

November 29 2010 at 2:49 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Frank

As an old Infantry combat soldier I don believe that!

November 29 2010 at 2:26 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
gsainc

why stop here. Why not also have coed living quarters.

November 29 2010 at 1:58 PM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gsainc's comment
atlasusa

and let's desegregate the living quarters too - unless you think it will compromise the morale and our national security .......

November 29 2010 at 2:03 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply
John Vilvens

People who have not served have no idea what they are talking about.

November 29 2010 at 1:50 PM Report abuse +13 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to John Vilvens's comment
exnyorker

I guess then you think people that have not served in government have no idea what they are talking about. Or people that have not played professional sports shouldn't comment about football or baseball. People are only entitled to talk about their limited lives and experiences according to you. . . . right?

November 29 2010 at 1:57 PM Report abuse -5 rate up rate down Reply
dc walker

I have no problems with gays in the military, I have worked with gays and they are hard working like anyone else and talk of their personal lives like anyone else. I would have doubts in close quarters like submarines which spend months at sea. There may be some problems that come up, what then?

November 29 2010 at 1:28 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to dc walker's comment
atlasusa

You know, Cutie, with DADT, inappropriate and unprofessional behavior is not tolerated in the US Military. With gays openly serving, this code of behavior does not change. Wide open bases or cramped submarines, Cutie, our men AND women serving are expected to conduct themselves properly regardless of their sexual orientation. This is NOT changing.

November 29 2010 at 1:39 PM Report abuse +9 rate up rate down Reply

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