UPDATE: On March 3, Sen. Joe Lieberman, I. CT, introduced a bill to repeal “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
A new study released by the Palm Center, a research group at the University of California, Santa Barbara, finds that foreign militaries that have made the transition to allowing openly gay service members did so successfully by implementing the new policies swiftly and with decisive leadership.
According to “Gays in Foreign Militaries 2010: A Global Primer,” even countries with significant initial opposition made smooth transitions that “had no negative impact on morale, recruitment, retention, readiness or overall combat effectiveness.”
Twenty-five nations currently allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in their military. The United States and Turkey are the only two countries within the NATO alliance that still have bans. More than 13,000 U.S. servicemen and women have been discharged under the policy.
President Obama has pledged to lift “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the controversial 1993 policy forbidding homosexuals from serving openly in the military. Two of the nation’s top military officials, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman on the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also support repeal and are currently evaluating how best to implement a repeal.
A new poll released by the Center for American Progress, has found that 54 percent of Americans support repealing the policy.
“Every shred of evidence shows that on the battlefield, sexual orientation doesn’t matter,” said Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest LGBT organization. “Our country’s top military leaders and the overwhelming majority of the American public and active-duty service members all believe that the most important consideration isn’t whether a patriotic American fighting for our freedom is gay or straight, but whether they have the ability to perform their mission. The time to repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is now.”