March 5, 1996 in Nation/World

British Affirm Ban On Gays In Military

Associated Press
 

The British government affirmed its ban on homosexuals in the armed forces on Monday, saying that was the choice of four-fifths of military personnel.

Armed Forces Minister Nicholas Soames announced that a policy review team recommended keeping the ban after surveys indicated strong opposition from members of Britain’s armed services.

Opponents said the ban is outdated and will have to change in time.

Four homosexuals have challenged the policy in court, so far without success. They are seeking to appeal to the House of Lords, the last resort under British law.

The Defense Ministry took two surveys of opinion: one in which 13,500 questionnaires were mailed to service personnel, which drew 7,000 responses; and a more detailed survey completed by 1,710 people.

In the postal survey, 23 percent of Royal Air Force personnel, 19 percent in the Army and 16 percent in the Royal Navy said gays should be allowed to serve but that homosexual behavior should not be permitted in barracks.

Both surveys found that roughly four-fifths supported the current policy.

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