Ask! Tell! US Soldiers Comfortable With Gay Colleagues

Print Date:

December 20, 2006


Gay Community News, Republic of Ireland

Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that works to end the ban on openly gay people serving in the US military, announced that many military personnel are quite comfortable serving with gay soldiers.

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

However, in complete contrast to these findings, only 26% of those polled agreed that gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve in the military, with 37% said they should not. Thirty-two percent were neutral on that issue, while the remaining 5% said they were not sure.

The Zogby poll is the latest in a series of polls and public statements indicating readiness for a chance in policy. A 2004 Annenberg poll found that 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% support for repealing the gay ban. A recent Boston Globe poll also found that a majority of conservatives and regular church-goers favour repeal, too.

The primary rationale for the ban has been the effect of gay soldiers on their units. If this poll is to be believed, this reasoning is outdated.

Congressman Marty Meehan will introduce legislation to kill the policy when Congress reconvenes next year. In the last congress, similar legislation had over 100 sponsors.