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Support Grows For Gays In Military


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Support Grows For Gays In Military

by Beth Shapiro 365Gay.com New York Bureau

Posted: August 31, 2005 5:00 pm ET

(New York City) Opposition to gays serving openly in the military has fallen to an all-time low according to a new poll.

The poll, by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life and the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, shows that 58 percent of the American public either strongly or moderately support gays and lesbians in the military. That is a steady increase from Pew Polls since 1994.

But, the most marked change was in the drop in opposition.

Among those who strongly object of gays serving in the armed forces the number has fallen to just 15 percent. In 1994, when Pew asked the question 26 percent were strongly opposed.

Two-thousand people were surveyed between July 7 and 17.

The poll is the latest indication that the majority of people support the repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell, the military ban on gays serving openly.

"This shows exactly what we've seen from Gallup polls and even one from the conservative Fox news," Steve Ralls, a spokesperson for the Servicemembers Legal Defense Fund told 365Gay.com.

"It's now up to congress to reflect the will of the people."

A bill to end the controversial ban on gays is currently before Congress. (story) The Military Readiness Enchancement Act currently has 90 bi-partisan supporters and was endorsed by eight retired military officers.

A report released in July showed that if 'don't ask, don't tell' were abolished the armed forces could alleviate a critical troop shortage. (story)

The report, prepared by the Williams Project at the UCLA School of Law, showed that without the ban, the military could expect to see 41,000 new recruits.

Its release came as the Pentagon admitted that it would not meet its recruiting goal this year for the first time since 1999.

The Government Accountability Office, earlier this year, issued a report showing that 'don't ask, don't tell' has cost taxpayers more than $200 million since its inception in 1993.

More than 10,000 service members have been discharged over the last 10 years under the policy according to statistics from the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

©365Gay.com 2005


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