A Pentagon survey will show that most
troops are not concerned about serving and living alongside openly
gay troops. Details of the Pentagon's report, due on December 1,
were leaked to the Washington Post.
Repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,”
the military policy that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving
openly, would cause only minimal problems, according to unidentified
sources who have read the report.
The survey's results are included in a
370-page report on ending the policy.
More than 70 percent of respondents to
a questionnaire sent to more than 40,000 active-duty and reserve
troops over the summer said the effect of lifting the gay ban would
be positive, mixed or nonexistent.
Speaking on CNN, Post writer Ed
O'Keefe said that about 40 percent of Marines objected to the change,
the highest rate among the armed forces. O'Keefe, however, added
that Marine leaders have been vocal in their opposition to repeal.
On Sunday, the new commandant of the Marine Corps said his objections
to repeal stem from the risk involved to “combat effectiveness.”
“This is not a social thing,” the told the Los Angeles Times.
“You know the Marine Corps is one
that really does follow the orders from the top,” O'Keefe said.
“And when you hear your branch's top leadership raising questions
about this, it no surprise that perhaps there is a little more
skepticism among the rank and file lower down, who are probably
hearing this not only from the commandants but they may also be
hearing it from other commanders slightly higher than them.”
Pointing to the survey's use of the
outmoded and derogatory word “homosexual” to describe gay men and
lesbians, and its overwhelming focus on the potential drawbacks of
repeal, leading groups lobbying for repeal called the survey biased
against gay troops when it rolled out in July.
Pentagon officials were forced to set
the policy aside for 8 days last month after a federal judge in
an injunction against its enforcement. The Obama administration
appealed the ruling and the policy was allowed to return. Gay
GOP group the Log Cabin Republicans, which is challenging the law,
has asked the Supreme Court to set aside the policy as the case wends
its way through the courts. In reinstating “Don't Ask,”
Secretary Robert Gates stiffened its requirements, allowing only
secretaries of the armed forces the authority to separate a service
member under the law.
President Barack Obama has said he
agrees that the law should be repealed but is pursuing an appeal
because he's looking for a “durable” solution from Congress. In
an interview with the gay media, the president rejected claims that
he was trying to have it both ways.
Repeal advocates remain hopeful that
the Senate will take a second look at repealing the 17-year-old law
during the lame-duck session of Congress that begins Monday. Arizona
Senator John McCain is reportedly working to strip the repeal
provision from a broader defense bill.