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73% of US Military is OK with gays serving openly

by PageOneQ

Seventy-three percent of US military members would accept openly gay and lesbian service members being in their units, according to a new poll released by Zogby International and the Michael D. Palm Center. Over one in five respondents to the survey said they know for certain that someone in their unit is gay or lesbian. The survey was conducted of both combat and non-combat units, according to a statement issued by the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network and obtained by PageOneQ.

"Today's poll is one more nail in the coffin of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, said in the statement.

The survey included over 500 troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Forty-five percent of the veterans of those wars indicated that although they were not certain there was a gay or lesbian member of their unit, they suspected there was.

The survey responses represent a dramatic change from 1993, when thirteen percent of service members said they supported the right of gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military.

A number of polls conducted in recent years have also indicated support for the repeal of the ban. In a 2004 Annenberg poll, a majority of junior enlisted personnel supported allowing out service members. The same poll found that 79% of the general public supported repealing the ban. And, according to SLDN, a poll recently conducted by the Boston Globe indicated that a majority of self identified conservatives and church-goers support repeal of the ban.

Military leaders such as three-star Lieutenant General Claudia Kennedy (ret.), the first female to achieve that rank in the Army, and Lieutenant General Daniel W. Christman, former superintendent of West Point, both support repealing the ban.

"There has been a seismic shift among the military and the public in favor of welcoming gay patriots in our armed forces," noted Osburn. "Congress should follow the example of those who serve on the frontlines every day and repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' once and for all."


Originally published on Tuesday December 19, 2006.

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