SANTA BARBARA, CA, – Nearly one in four U.S. troops (23%) say they know for sure that someone in their unit is gay or lesbian, and of those 59% said they learned about the person’s sexual orientation directly from the individual, a Zogby International poll of troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan shows.
More than half (55%) of the troops who know a gay peer said the presence of gays or lesbians in their unit is well known by others. According to the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, service members are not allowed to say that they are gay.
The Zogby Interactive poll of 545 troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan was designed in conjunction with the Michael D. Palm Center at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and conducted by Zogby Oct. 24-26, 2006. It carries a margin of error of +/- 4.3 percentage points.
According to Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA), “These new data prove that thousands of gay and lesbian servicemembers are already deployed overseas and are integrated, important members of their units. It is long past time to strike down “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and create a new policy that allows gays and lesbians to serve openly.”
(Excerpted from a press release distributed by Zogby International)