A new survey conducted among Iraq and Afghanistan service veterans reveals that military personnel feel ‘very’ comfortable with gays serving openly in the armed forces.
The poll carried out by Lake Research Partners and American Viewpoint, Inc registered an overwhelming majority of 73% responding positively when asked how comfortable they would feel serving along gays and lesbians open about their sexuality.
Sixty percent agreed that sexual orientation has no bearing on a service member’s ability to perform their duties, including 42% who strongly agree.
Overall 81% serving in the Air Force, 78% in the Navy, 67% in the Army, and 68% in the Marines agreed it was acceptable to let gay personnel not only serve, but to be open about their sexuality.
Currently, gay men and women are permitted to serve in the U.S. military as long as their sexuality is not disclosed.
The highly controversial Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy which prevents gays and lesbians from serving openly was introduced by the Clinton administration in 1993.
Mounting criticism of the policy, both within and outside the military, is putting pressure on the U.S. government to repeal the law.
Results of the survey which was announced by the Vet Voice Foundation show that the notion that today’s military members are uncomfortable around gay and lesbian people is unfounded says the report.
‘This recent bipartisan survey, conducted among service members in the United States, in many ways runs counter to the idea being asserted by many, that service members in the military cannot handle this change [Gay military personnel disclosing their sexuality]’ comments Vet Voice Foundation.
Notably, it is younger Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who have the most positive attitude towards their gay colleagues. Eighty percent of veterans aged below 35 said they were personally comfortable serving alongside gays and lesbians.
Last month the US military’s highest-ranking uniformed officer, Admiral Mike Mullen, Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff publicly denounced DADT calling for its withdrawal.
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Related link: http://www.vetvoicefoundation.com/new?id=0002