A majority of Americans favor repeal of
“don't ask, don't tell,” the policy that bans gay and lesbian
service members from serving openly in the military.
According to a Quinnipiac
University poll of registered voters released Wednesday, 57
percent of respondents believe gay troops should serve openly, while
36 percent disagree. An even larger number – 66% – believe the
policy is discriminatory.
“By a solid margin, American voters
say go ahead and allow gays to openly serve in the military,” Peter
A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinipiac University Polling
Institute, said in a statement.
“Voters think 2-1 that keeping gays
from serving is discrimination. But they are much more mixed on
exactly how the transformation of the military will occur and how the
Pentagon should adjust to the needs of gay soldiers, sailors and
Marines,” he added.
The poll found near universal support
(82%) for the military ending disciplinary action against gay men and
lesbians outed against their will.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates has
already ordered a 45-day study on how to do just that. Gates said
the Pentagon would consider implementing a “fairer” version of
the law at a recent key Senate panel studying the issue.
The survey also found a majority of
respondents (65%) do not believe repeal will hurt the military's
ability to fight effectively on the battlefield. However, by a
margin of 54%-38%, voters say gay troops should face restrictions on
exhibiting their sexual orientation.