Poll: Americans embarrassed by military's gay ban

BY admin

September 17 2005 12:00 AM ET

Barring out gay
men and lesbians from serving in the armed forces makes
more people embarrassed by the military than proud of it,
according to a new University of California
poll. According to the poll, 24.2% of respondents
said that the policy makes them embarrassed by the military,
while 17.5% said that the policy makes them proud. Fifty-six
percent said the policy has no impact on their
feelings about the military.

Conservatives
were heavily overrepresented in the pool of respondents
because the sample was designed to match the characteristics
of a cohort of new military recruits. Among
respondents to the survey, 53.1% were Republicans,
29.8% were independent/other, and 17% were Democrats; 81.6%
were male, and 18.4% were female; and all were between the
ages of 18 and 24. These characteristics closely
match the profile of a cohort of new military
recruits.

The survey was
designed by the Center for the Study of Sexual Minorities
in the Military, a research institute at the University of
California, Santa Barbara, to test how the gay ban is
perceived among individuals whom the military seeks to
recruit. "The fact that even conservatives are
embarrassed by the gay ban suggests that the policy is
harmful to the military's reputation," said Aaron Belkin,
director of the group.

During the past
two years, at least six national polls administered by
five different polling organizations have asked members of
the public whether gays and lesbians should be allowed
to serve openly in the military. All polls found that
between 58% and 79% of the public believe that gays
and lesbians should be allowed to serve openly. For example,
Fox News found in August 2003 that 64% of the public,
including 55% of Republicans, believe that gays and
lesbians should be allowed to serve openly.

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