The US military has spent between $290
million and more than a half a billion dollars implementing its ban
on open gay service, a new study released Tuesday found.
brief released by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law,
a public policy institute that focuses on sexual orientation law,
also estimates that 66,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual people are
currently serving in the Armed Forces, approximately 2.2% of all
“Despite official policy requiring
that lesbians, gay men and bisexuals remain silent about their sexual
orientation, data from the US Census Bureau suggest that an estimated
66,000 LGB men and women are serving in the US military,” Dr. Gary
J. Gates, who authored the study, said in a press release.
Congress approved the ban, also known
as “don't ask, don't tell,” in 1993. It prohibits gay and
lesbian service members from revealing their sexuality at the risk of
losing their jobs.
During the presidential campaign Obama
pledged to repeal the law. In October, he reiterated his promise at
a fundraiser attended by roughly 3,000 gay activists, but offered no
The White House has confirmed that
President Obama will discuss the ban during his State of the Union
address on Wednesday.
The new study could provide powerful
ammunition for activists lobbying for repeal of the ban.
“Ending 'don't ask, don't tell' will
save a substantial amount of taxpayer dollars since estimates suggest
that the policy has cost more than half a billion dollars,” Gates
The study also found that lifting the
restrictions “could attract an estimated 36,700 men and women to
active duty service and 12,000 more individuals to the guard and