The Human Rights Campaign, the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, is encouraged by early reports that show positive attitudes among service members toward the integration of openly gay and lesbian troops. A majority of troops surveyed do not object to serving alongside openly gay troops. Given that an estimated 60,000 gays and lesbians presently serve in silence in the U.S. military, these results are consistent with the fact that troops value professional performance on the battlefield over discriminatory and unjust policies.
“While we are gratified that the initial results of this survey are positive and that our troops are fair and respectful of their gay and lesbian colleagues, we continue to question the wisdom of surveying people on a discriminatory law that runs contrary to our national security interests,” said Joe Solmonese, HRC president. “Following the elections, it is critical that senators pass the National Defense Authorization Act, which includes repeal. It would be a travesty if senators, for the first time in over 4o years, did not pass the law that includes a pay raise for our troops and authorization for several key weapons systems simply because some don’t want to see gays and lesbians openly serving their country.”
Over thirty foreign countries, including key U.S. allies like Israel and the United Kingdom, allow open service by lesbian and gay troops. In anticipation of open service, some troops threatened to leave military service if lesbians and gays were allowed to serve but that threat never materialized and there have been no negative results to open service.
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