Americans believe gays should be allowed to serve openly in
the military, there is still some concern on the part
of soldiers about a fully integrated armed
forces, according to a Reuters
have shown the majority of American voters believe
gays should not have to abide by "don't ask, don't
tell," a 1993 law that forces gay soldiers into the closet.
Now that President Obama -- a much stronger supporter
of gay rights than his predecessor, George W. Bush --
is in office, many believe "don't ask, don't tell"
will go the way of waterboarding. In fact, when Obama
spokesman Robert Gibbs was asked whether Obama would end
"don't ask, don't tell," he answered on the
president's transition website earlier this month,
"You don't hear politicians give a one-word answer
much. But it's 'yes.'"
But some soldiers
quoted in the Reuters piece expressed concern about
openly gay soldiers serving, especially in a time that
America is fighting two wars. Specialist Justin
Scharan, from Washington State, told Reuters, "I'm
Christian, so I really don't believe it's a good thing.
But if it happens, there's not much we can do."
"Don't ask, don't
tell" continues to end many military careers -- over
600 gay soldiers were dismissed just in 2007. Gay soldiers
already serve openly, with little controversy, in
nations including the United Kingdom, Israel,
Australia, and Germany.
quietly endorse ending the discriminatory policy, which was
enacted by President Bill Clinton after his efforts to allow
openly gay soldiers in the armed forces backfired
under pressure from Christian and military groups.
A soldier who
wouldn't give his name told Reuters, "Put it this way:
if they're willing to fight for their country, to me, it
doesn't make a difference. Everybody has a right to
defend their country, even if they are gay." (Neal