WASHINGTON – Following a survey of U.S. troops and their families, a Pentagon study group has concluded the military can lift the ban on gays serving openly in uniform with only minimal and isolated incidents of risk to the current war efforts, the Washington Post reported Wednesday.
The newspaper quoted two people familiar with a draft of the study, which is to be completed for Defense Secretary Robert Gates by Dec. 1., but with an uncertain public release date.
More than 70 percent of respondents to a survey sent to active-duty and reserve troops over the summer said the effect of repealing the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on gays and lesbians in uniform would be positive, mixed or nonexistent, the sources told the newspaper.
The newspaper said the survey results have led the report’s authors to conclude that objections to openly gay colleagues would drop once troops were able to live and serve alongside them.
The long, detailed and nuanced report will almost certainly be used by opponents and supporters of repeal legislation to bolster their positions in what is likely to be a heated and partisan congressional debate. And it is expected to reveal challenges the services could face in overturning the long-held policy, including overcoming fierce opposition in some parts of the force – primarily in the Army and Marine Corps – even if they represent a minority.