New Poll Shows Overwhelming Support for Allowing Gays to Serve; ’Boston Globe’ Reports Majority of Republicans, Churchgoers Think Gays Should Serve Openly
WASHINGTON, May 16 -- A poll published in Sunday’s Boston Globe reports that 79 percent of Americans believe gays should be allowed to serve openly in the U.S. military. “Large majorities of Republicans, regular chuchgoers, and (even) people with negative attitudes toward gays think gays and lesbian should be allowed to serve openly in the military,” the Globe reports.
Don Mihovk, who works for the Nebraska Chamber of Commerce and agreed to be interviewed after responding to the poll, told the Globe that, “(Gays) can serve their country, they can work in any job they want.”
The Globe poll follows other recent polls showing growing support for allowing gays to serve openly. Recent Gallup polls have reported between 65 percent and 79 percent support for lifting the military’s gay ban. The Annenberg Survey reported in October that half of junior enlisted personnel and their families support allowing gays to serve. And in 2003, FOX News reported 64 percent support for allowing gays to serve.
“Across every political spectrum, and by ever-increasing majorities, Americans favor allowing gays to serve our country,” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN). “National security is neither a Republican nor a Democratic issue. Americans do not support a policy that places discrimination above military readiness. Our homeland is made more secure, in both the blue states and the red, when qualified, capable Americans are allowed to serve without regard to sexual orientation. Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle should heed the counsel of the American people and repeal ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ once and for all.”
In March, Rep. Marty Meehan (D-Mass.) introduced the Military Readiness Enhancement Act, a Congressional bill to lift the military’s gay ban. Today, the bill is supported by a bi-partisan group of 83 lawmakers in the House of Representatives. “We’ve tried the policy. I don’t think it works. And we’ve spent a lot of money enforcing it,” said Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-Fla.), a member of the Subcommittee on National Security, Emerging Threats and International Relations. “People who’ve signed up to serve our country, we should be thanking them.”
The Boston Globe poll was conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, which polled 760 randomly selected adults between May 4 and May 9. The margin of error is 3.6 percent.
Servicemembers Legal Defense Network is a national, non-profit legal services, watchdog and policy organization dedicated to ending discrimination against and harassment of military personnel affected by ’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and related forms of intolerance. For more information, visit http://www.sldn.org.
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