As the Pentagon prepares to survey soldiers about President Obama’s decision to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a new poll of military personnel who served in the Afghanistan or Iraq wars has finds that sexual orientation is “not a burning issue that overwhelms veterans’ lives.”
The new poll, commissioned by The Vet Voice Foundation and conducted jointly by Republican and Democratic pollsters, finds that most veterans are “comfortable around gay and lesbian people, believe that being gay or lesbian has no bearing on a service member’s ability to perform their duties, and would find it acceptable if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly in the military.” Fifty-eight percent of veterans said they served alongside gays or lesbians, and only 22 percent thought they had not:
– 60% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans believe that being gay or lesbian “has no bearing on a service member’s ability to perform their duties.” Only 29% disagree.
– 73% of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans say it is “personally acceptable to them if gay and lesbian people were allowed to serve openly in the military.” Only a quarter (25%) would find it unacceptable.
– 73% Iraq and Afghanistan veterans say “they are personally comfortable in the presence of gays and lesbians.” Only a quarter (23%) is uncomfortable, and hardly anyone is very uncomfortable (only 7%).