Researchers from the RAND corporation and the University of Florida have released the results of a new study which shows support for "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" has declined from within the military ranks:
The study found that just 40 percent of the military members surveyed
expressed support for the policy, while 28 percent opposed it and 33
percent were neutral—less support than seen in previous surveys.
About 20 percent of those polled said they were aware of a gay or
lesbian member in their unit, and about half of those said their
presence was well known. In addition, three-quarters of those surveyed
said they felt comfortable or very comfortable in the presence of gays
or lesbians, according to the study…
…Researchers found no significant differences regarding attitudes toward
gay and lesbian military members among members of the different
services. Other findings from the study include:
* Compared to previous studies of military members, support for the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" ban continues to decline. The earliest polls in 1993 showed 75 percent agreed with the ban, 8 percent unsure and 16 percent were against it.
* The important factors for cohesion and readiness were officer/non-commissioned officer quality, training quality and equipment quality. Beyond these factors, knowing a gay or lesbian person in the unit was not associated significantly with ratings of unit cohesion or readiness.
* The most frequently endorsed arguments in support of integrating gays and lesbians were those that prioritized performance and qualifications over exclusionary practices.
Of course, Congress may be too busy this year or next to do anything about it.