Ma'am, Would You Care for Some Facts With That?

Judging from her congressional testimony, Elaine Donnelly may be the most strident civilian opponent of lifting "don’t ask, don’t tell." Too bad her reasons for keeping the policy in place aren’t sound.

BY Conn Corrigan

August 13 2008 12:00 AM ET

DADT Soldier (Getty) | Advocate.com

Argument 3: We don’t even know how many gay
soldiers there are.
Donnelly disputed the oft-cited estimate of
65,000 gay men and lesbians currently serving,
comparing it to an “urban legend.” Her
complaint? The estimate that 4% of Americans are gay,
lesbian, or bisexual -- from which the soldier figure
was derived -- is “speculative.” Donnelly also
claimed that Gary Gates, a former Urban Institute
researcher who arrived at the number, employs
“questionable methodology.”

The 4% figure was
derived from a government-funded survey, says Gates,
who submitted written testimony for the hearing. And Gates
uses Bayes’ Rule for his statistical analyses,
“a method taught in virtually every beginning
statistics class,” he says.

Argument 4: Open service by gays in other countries
has been problematic.
“Contrary to the notion that all has gone
well,” Donnelly admonished, “European
newspapers have reported recruiting and disciplinary
problems in the British military.”

Among the five
newspaper articles she referenced to support her point was
a piece published in 2005 in The Times of
London
that contains this statement: “Senior
officers want to encourage more gay and lesbian
sailors, estimated at 2,100, to ‘come
out,’ paving the way for the first openly gay
admiral.” Maybe Donnelly didn’t read the
piece?

According to
British naval lieutenant commander Craig Jones,
“There will always be incidents [involving]
racial prejudice or gender issues, things experienced
by society. But by and large, integration of gay soldiers
has been a hugely positive experience -- and
we’re a better organization for it.”

Tags: Politics

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