For over a decade — since well before 1993’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy was enacted — we have been told that allowing openly-gay servicemembers would damage unit cohesion and readiness. The religious right has relied upon this claim as its primary reason to promote a continued ban on gay servicemembers. A new Pentagon poll yanks the teeth from the argument.
This July, the Pentagon distributed a survey to over 400,000 troops and 150,000 spouses of troops. The survey asked whether the respondents had served with openly-gay servicemembers, how they would behave if they needed to share barracks or shower rooms with gay people, etc.
While some respondents were strongly against allowing homosexuals to serve openly, the majority reportedly don’t care, and think the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy should be dropped.
The report is due to President Obama on December 1, at which time the Pentagon will announce its own plan for repeal of the policy. Full details of the report, including the breakdown of the responses, will be available at that time.
If unit cohesion is truly not an issue, as this appears to indicate, what argument will the Religious Right rely upon next? Will they finally turn to the one that they meant all along . . . “It’s against my religion, and therefore I must force my beliefs upon all others”? Or will they come up with something new?