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Report: Fewer gay
soldiers discharged by military

Report: Fewer gay
soldiers discharged by military

The United States military appears to be discharging fewer and fewer gay soldiers under its 12-year-old "don't ask, don't tell" policy. A Boston Globe report this week says recent data show the military retained 36 soldiers last year, despite their being identified as gay. In 2004 the military retained only 22. Some people speculate that the difficulty of recruiting and retaining soldiers for the war in Iraq may explain the change. Others say it's a sign that Americans in general--and young people in particular--are just more comfortable with gay people than they were in 1994, when the "don't ask, don't tell" policy went into effect. Data from the Defense Department of Defense show that the number of service members discharged under the policy plummeted as the war on terror escalated. In 2001 the number of gays discharged reached its peak at more than 1,200. It dropped by almost 30% the following year to 906. The U.S. invasion of Iraq did not begin until 2003, but the number of gay soldiers discharged has continued to decline. The only thing that hasn't changed, says the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, is that female soldiers are being discharged under the antigay policy at a rate that is twice what their numbers represent in the force. (Sirius OutQ News)

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