February 22nd, 2010
11:35 AM ET
10 months ago

CNN Poll: 69% OK with gays in the military

Washington (CNN) - Nearly seven in ten Americans think that people who are openly gay or lesbian should be allowed to serve in the military, according to a new national poll.

A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey indicates that 69 percent of the public favors allowing openly gay men and lesbian women to serve in the military, with 27 percent opposed.

Full results [PDF]

"That's a dramatic turnaround from the early 1990s, when the 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' policy was first being implemented," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "In 1994, only a bare 53 percent majority felt that gays and lesbians should be allowed to openly serve in the military."

Support for allowing gays in the military is much higher among Democrats than Republicans, but the policy wins support from a majority of Republicans as well. More than eight in ten Democrats say that gays should be allowed to serve; 62 of Republicans and 63 percent of Independents agree with that view.

The poll's release follows Sen. Joe Lieberman of Connecticut announcement Monday that he would be a sponsor of legislation next week to repeal the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, which has been in place since 1993.

"The change in views on gays in the military dovetails with overall changes in public attitudes toward gays and toward homosexual behavior," adds Holland.

In 1994, a majority of Americans thought homosexual relationships were morally wrong; only 41 percent believed that homosexuality was not a moral issue. Now, for the first time since polls began asking this question in the 1970s, half the public thinks that homosexuality is not a moral issue.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted February 12-15, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the overall survey.

-CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: CNN Polls • Don't Ask Don't Tell
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. katiec

    It is discouraging how discrimanating people are. We have Americans fighting and dying for our country, yet, some are not acceptable because they are gay? What a bunch of hypocritical, Bible thumping radicals you are.

    February 22, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  2. walleye

    Anyone wishing to serve their country should not be denied that privilidge. Dont let the Rightwing Christian idiots tell you otherwise. They have always taken the bible out of context for their own purposes. Homosexuality is NOT a choice, people are born that way. Knowing all the hardships these people will face throughout their lives, would you CHOOSE to be one of them?

    February 22, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  3. Tom-Austin

    I have been in the military for 15 years and have deployed to Iraq. I have constantly heard the refrain "Why do gays wear their sexuality on their sleeves' or 'i dont want to know about someones sexuality'. I myself am married with children. For some reason if i introduce my wife and kids to my coworkers it is not "wearing my sexuality on my sleeve' while if another man introduced his companion it would be. Opposition to the repeal of DADT shows us little about homosexulaity but it shows us much about the bigotry of the person opposing it.

    February 22, 2010 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  4. Independant in Indiana

    "Why the heck do we ( the public ) need to know anyone's sexual orientation ? Either get back in the closet or shut the heck up ! Where does it say anywhere that ONE must go about with a sleeve band that declares ones' orientation? If "you" want to serve in the military – SERVE and do so without wearing an arm band." – - – - -
    citizen – you better BELIEVE it !

    Citizen,

    Its not about wearing an arm band or a declaration of their oreintation, its about not being able to pursue a relationship or having to hide who they are for fear of being kicked out of the service.

    February 22, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. AndyBlue

    22 other countries that make up coalition forces allow gays to serve.

    This is just embarrassing now. Catch up America. The rest of the world is progressing far past.

    In a side note. I find it hysterical how many right wing commenters say ignore Cnn and their polls yet they just cant seem to stop themselves from showing up here everyday and commenting.

    Strange how just hearing the term "gay" instills such hatred from people whos masculinity is really lacking to begin with.

    Real men arent threatened by gay people.

    and by the way... almost 80 percent of officers in the military polled say they have absolutely no problem with gays serving proudly.

    February 22, 2010 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  6. strong

    Who cares what their sexual preference (or whatever) is.

    A body is a body and the army will take anything that breathes and can wear boots.

    February 22, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  7. B

    America may finally be starting to grow up and join the rest of the world.
    There have always been gays in the military as well as all other institutions in this country.

    We actually have- real problems- in this country like a totally dysfunctional Congress that is stopping any legislation that we ALL need!

    February 22, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  8. Fenarkleman

    Hmm...69%, you say? 69%? Not 68%? Not 70%? No, exactly at 69%? Giggle. Guffaw. Immature chuckle. Ha-ha! HAAAAA! You made this up, right?

    February 22, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  9. Mary

    In 2003, polls were being published in major newspapers saying 60-70% of Americans were in favor of "gay marriage", but in 2004 when the Massachusetts Supreme Court forced it on Massachusetts, 60% of states promptly banned it via their Constitutions. Same story for these polls saying that Americans want "gays in the military". TOTAL FRAUD.

    It used to be that the objective of the U.S. Military was to win wars, but nowadays it's the advancement of political agendas. You can bet this will lead to declining recruitment, internal conflicts, more men coming home in body bags, and lost wars ... but a least the homosexuals will be happy. Isn't that the important thing?

    February 22, 2010 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  10. Steve (the real one)

    Gays ALREADY serve. Just shut your mouths about your sex lives and that goes for gays and straights!

    February 22, 2010 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  11. Chris - MN

    I saw the suggestion that they will now need 4 types of housing. Would that be one for males/females that follow orders and respect differences among their fellow soldiers – and one to accomodate those that are unable to get over it?

    I used to think those serving in the armed services were a little tougher than to get worked up over what another soldier does on leave.

    February 22, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  12. cmxsmitty

    If you are a law abiding citizen and of age you should be allowed to serve your country. Repeal DADT now.

    February 22, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  13. Bubble of Sanity

    Are you sure it was really "69" or is this some kind of sick joke?

    February 22, 2010 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  14. gw

    When the dust settles on this, McCain and Palin may be the only two leading Republicans who still favor don't ask, don't tell. (Of course, those who never served in the military will also favor it. They have no problem insulting the brave gay soldiers who have died serving their country in battle.)

    February 22, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  15. NC

    Let Gays serve in the military. We don't need hearings about it. Enough said.

    February 22, 2010 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  16. Sam

    To those who say those of us who aren't soldiers don't matter, I remind you, the military is the face of America to the world. We get a say in how our military is run. The constitution set up civilian control for a reason.

    Soldiers overwhelmingly opposed integration of the military in the 1940's, yet Truman forced it on them, and after some bumps, it worked. You want to say that was a bad idea too cause "the soldiers didn't like it."?

    Moreover, gay people ALREADY serve in the military, already share showers and already share barracks with straight soldiers. Wouldn't you rather know who the gay people are you're sharing these things with, than sit there wondering?

    February 22, 2010 02:56 pm at 2:56 pm |
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