A July 29 report from the Fayetteville Observer indicates that soldiers at Fort Bragg, one of the US’s most active combat installations, do not support the military’s continued exclusion of lesbian, gay and bisexual personnel from the armed forces.
In a survey of 20 soldiers at the base, the Observer reported finding little support for the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law.
The survey was conducted following the dismissal of Army linguist Bleu Copas, an Arabic translator who was dismissed under the ban.
“If you are doing your job, you fall into the same category as anyone else,” a former drill sergeant serving at the base told The Observer. “It’s political. The Army has to have a public face,” said an 82nd paratrooper at Fort Bragg. “When you look at the commercials, you see soldiers doing their jobs. You don’t see his personal life.”
“Men and women in the ranks and on the frontlines understand that sexual orientation is irrelevant when it comes to job performance,” said C Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defence Network (SLDN.)
“Our armed forces, which led the way on civil rights for African Americans and women, is falling woefully behind when it comes to ending anti- gay discrimination. The American people do not support ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ nor do the service members who report for duty every day. The drumbeat for repeal grows louder every day.”
A recent poll from the Annenberg Foundation found that 50 percent of junior enlisted personnel favor allowing gay service members to serve openly. Gallup has found 79 percent support for open service among the American public.
A recent national poll by the Boston Globe found that a majority of conservatives, regular church-goers and Southern voters also support repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
A Congressional bill to repeal the law, introduced by Marty Meehan, is now supported by 119 bipartisan members of Congress.
“Over the course of the last year, I questioned high-ranking members of the armed forces, active duty military personnel, veterans, military families, members of the LGBT community, my congressional colleagues and other interested groups,” Susan Davis recently said while announcing her support for repeal.
“After consulting this diverse sounding board, it is clear to me that the ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ policy is a political invention that does not serve the real needs of our armed forces and should be repealed.”
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