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Zogby poll: three in four troops comfortable serving with gays

Now is the time to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

The Dems, who mostly run for cover unless the polls are on their side, particularly when it comes to anything g-a-y, now have solid data, straight from the people most affected by a change in policy — the boots on the ground.

According to an October Zogby poll of 545 troops who served in Iraq and Afghanistan:

* Nearly three in four troops (73%) say they are personally comfortable in the presence of gays and lesbians.
* Of the 20% who said they are uncomfortable around gays and lesbians, only 5% are “very” uncomfortable, while 15% are “somewhat” uncomfortable.
* Only two percent of troops said knowing that gays are not allowed to serve openly was an important reason in their decision to join the military.
* Of those who know a gay or lesbian peer, 27% said it has a negative impact on the morale of their unit.

And the kicker:
* nearly three out of four troops said in the Zogby poll that they usually or almost always take showers privately – only 8% say they usually or almost always take showers in group stalls.

So much for the man-panic about dropping the soap.

Remember, the desk jockeys at the Pentagon and senior officers have bleated about unit cohesion and group showers unhinging the poor heterosexuals serving. The Zogby poll shows that this is a red herring and this line of BS has to stop.

Other interesting info:
* In combat units, 21% said they know for certain that someone in their unit is gay or lesbian.
* In combat support units (25%) and combat service support units (22%) know and work alongside gays and lesbians.
* One in five troops (20%) in other units said they know for certain someone is gay or lesbian in their unit.
* Nearly half (45%) say there are people in their unit they believe to be gay or lesbian, but they don’t know for sure.
* Slightly more than half (52%) say they have received training on the prevention of anti-gay harassment in the past three years;
* However, 40% say they have not received this type of training, which is mandated by Defense Department policy.

Congressman Marty Meehan (D-MA), sponsor of The Military Readiness Enhancement Act (H.R. 1059), which would repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

“These new data prove that thousands of gay and lesbian service members 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.”

The full Zogby report is here.

SLDN had this to say:

“Today’s poll is one more nail in the coffin of `Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,'” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).  “Those who defend the law have argued that openly gay personnel harm military readiness.  This research highlights the absurdity of such a hypothesis.  Not only are there more than 65,000 lesbians and gays serving in the armed forces, but many are serving openly.  Their straight colleagues are just fine with that  At a time when our fighting forces are stretched thin and leaders are calling for the recruitment of more troops, it is time for Congress to do away with this archaic law.”

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding

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