Tuesday, January 02, 2007

New Poll Shows Military Personnel are Comfortable Serving with Gay Colleagues

A new poll from Zogby International and the Michael D. Palm Center reveals U.S. military personnel are increasingly comfortable serving with openly gay colleagues.

The recently released poll reveals 73 percent of military members are comfortable with lesbians and gays. Nearly one in four (23 percent) service members report knowing for sure that someone in their unit is lesbian or gay, including 21 percent of those in combat units.

"Today's poll is one more nail in the coffin of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), said in a release. "Those who defend the law have argued that openly gay personnel harm military readiness. This research highlights the absurdity of such a hypothesis. Not only are there more than 65,000 lesbians and gays serving in the armed forces, but many are serving openly. Their straight colleagues are just fine with that. At a time when our fighting forces are stretched thin and leaders are calling for the recruitment of more troops, it is time for Congress to do away with this archaic law."

The poll of 545 troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan also found that, even among those who did not know for certain if a gay colleague was in their unit, nearly half (45 percent) suspected as much. Among those who did know a gay colleague, few said their presence undermined morale. In 1993, only 13 percent of enlisted personnel supported open service.

The Zogby poll is the latest in a series of polls and public statements indicating readiness for a change in policy. A 2004 Annenberg poll found a majority of junior enlisted personnel favor allowing gays to serve openly, up from 13 percent in other polls from 1993. Among the general public, Gallup has found 79 percent support for repealing the gay ban. A recent Boston Globe poll also found a majority of conservatives and regular church-goers favor repeal, too.

Senior military leaders are increasingly speaking up in favor of reviewing the ban on open service as well. Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy, USA (Ret.), the first female to achieve three-star rank in the Army, recently called "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" a "hollow policy that serves no useful purpose." Lieutenant General Daniel W. Christman, former superintendent of West Point, told The New York Times, "it is clear that national attitudes toward this issue have evolved considerably in the last decade. This has been led by a new generation of service members who take a more relaxed and tolerant view toward homosexuality."

I found this article interesting. It's good to see that Americans are finally waking up to logic and not just basing their opinions on bias and prejudiced ideas.


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