The Pentagon study on the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” that was leaked to The Washington Post earlier this month (and reported on by us) was finally released today. As the initial report suggested, the military can safely remove the ban on gays without any widespread or longterm consequences.
Overall, the survey found that some two-thirds of troops do not care if the ban is lifted. Of the 30 percent who objected, most were on duty in combat areas.
Opposition was strongest among combat troops, with at least 40 percent saying it was a bad idea. That number climbs to 58 percent among Marines serving in combat roles.
A summary of the report says 69 percent of respondents believe they already have served alongside a gay person, of which 92 percent said their unit was able to work together and 8 percent said the unit functioned poorly as a result.
However, the report also says that most gays would be likely to keep their identity a secret even if the ban is repealed. Only 15 percent of the gay soldiers surveyed said that they’d want the other members of their unit to know they were gay. One soldier said:
I will just be me. I will bring my family to family events. I will put family pictures on my desk. I am not going to go up to people and say, ‘Hi there. I’m gay.’
The House has already voted to overturn the ban, while Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has promised a vote on the ban by the end of this year. It remains to be seen whether or not the study will help overcome the expected Republican opposition in the Senate.