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. Hows that nonunion made Toyota workin for ya?

    They dont care who dies for them as long as theres money to be made.

    February 22, 2010 11:38 am at 11:38 am |
  2. Chris - Denver

    Oh, boy is that ever an unfortunate percentage.

    February 22, 2010 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  3. Stop the Nonsense

    Good thing- they've been there forever!
    Maybe once they can openly defend the country, they can live together legally!

    February 22, 2010 11:42 am at 11:42 am |
  4. j

    YES, gays should be allowed to serve openly in the military. Why is this even a question?

    February 22, 2010 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  5. Dennis

    So the majority of my fellow Americans think it's ok for homosexuals to risk their lives in defense of our freedoms, but don't believe they should have the same freedoms extended to them when it comes to marriage? No wonder the vast majority of our politicians are hypocrites – so is the populace.

    February 22, 2010 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  6. Bill from CA

    Oh, the irony of a 69% approval rating for gays...

    February 22, 2010 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  7. If I was crazy, I'd be a conservative too

    But the right wingnuts who make up 15% of the population, think they speak for the majority, and they are against it. But, since these chicken hawks will not serve in the military anyway, I think their opinions should be dismissed.

    February 22, 2010 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Big John

    It's almost unbeliveable that 31% are so stupid to not think that they are already there. Newsflash to those 31%: There are gays in the military now! Just because they're not open about it doesn't mean they're not already there. Homophobics...morons!

    February 22, 2010 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  9. Terry from West Texas

    I'm OK with gays in the military too, but I'm not in the military. Integrating gay and lesbian soldiers into the services shouldn't be too hard since they are serving now. I don't think much will change.

    We have men and women serving together now, and sex play inevitably occurs among them now. At least the gay and lesbian soldiers will not get pregnant, which is a good thing if you are thinking about combat readiness.

    This tiny little issue is distracting us from really important ones, so I say let them serve as openly as they wish. Who cares? I am a straight man who has been approached a couple of times by a gay guy. I was very confused for a few minutes, but after I figured out he was hitting on me, I thanked him for the compliment and told him that he was barking up the wrong tree. Straight women reject would-be suitors all the time. They should give some advice to straight men on how to handle unwanted advances. It can't be too hard.

    February 22, 2010 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  10. Larry

    Ok – Then law should say men and women stay in same barracks and shower together right?

    I mean if a gay man or woman is allowed to be forced upon the same sex whom they just happen to prefer then what about the straight men and women????

    Why do we have men and women in separate quarters now? If you force the straights to room, shower with the gays isn't that just WRONG? How can it be one way but not the other?

    A man then should be allowed to stay with the women because that's who he or she rpefers

    February 22, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  11. Emile Zola

    I spent 26 years of active duty and during that time I saw plenty of homosexuals. The idea that if a denial, no homosexuals in the armed services, then they don't exist sounds too phony to be given any credibility. That baloney about unit cohesiveness is a smoke screen to try to cover up the 800 LBS gorilla in the room. The armed forces have been the core of rapes against women for ages and according to media reports, they continue un-abetted, despite the new programs established to prevent sexual harassment. Sexual orientation should have no bearing in serving one's nation. Homosexuals bleed just the same as heterosexuals. It's time to be honest with the military and the nation.

    February 22, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  12. Average American

    Let's move forward on this issue. We're losing too many highly qualified military men and women over this silly law.

    I don't say this often...thank you Senator Lieberman!

    February 22, 2010 11:52 am at 11:52 am |
  13. Sgt. Flagg T. McLiberty, Superpatriot

    "...with 27 percent opposed"

    This ~25% keeps showing up in every poll:
    -Scrap health care and start all over: ~25%
    -Think Sarah Palin is qualified to be president" ~25%
    -W's approval rating when he left office: ~25%

    Must we all as a nation be held hostage by this reactionary 25%?

    February 22, 2010 11:53 am at 11:53 am |
  14. RealityKing

    We would have a better military if we banned all sin from its ranks.., drinking, smoking, womanizing, cursing and homosexuality.

    February 22, 2010 11:56 am at 11:56 am |
  15. jules sand-perkins

    It is very far past the time to DUMP DADT.
    We do not choose our sexuality: we are born with it.
    A straight guy cannot be seduced into being gay. A gay man can not be ultmately happy married to a woman, even if he produces a dozen altar boys, two dogs, and a gratified priest.

    February 22, 2010 11:57 am at 11:57 am |
  16. Dignity Restored

    "69% OK with gays in the military" LOL! Just drop the percent sign and the title takes on a whole new meaning. I guess I'm not as mature as I thought I was....

    February 22, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  17. Jeff from Chicago

    69% of non military people

    What about those who are actually current military?
    How do they feel and isn't that the votes that should count?

    nothing should be done to distract from their mission or goal.

    This isn't discriminating, it's doing what's best for the common good.

    February 22, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  18. RealityKing

    And no.., protecting is not a sin, murder is sin.

    February 22, 2010 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  19. JFK Democrat

    With the likes of Chaney and Bush known as 'Hawks' flying the other way America needs all the Real men and women they can get and their sexual preferance is nobody's business!!!

    February 22, 2010 12:01 pm at 12:01 pm |
  20. Gop

    Another stupid poll. Now please ask the people that are serving in the military and see if you get that number.

    I dont think our troops would agree with this.

    February 22, 2010 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  21. David Johnston

    If you don't like gay sex ,then don't have gay sex.

    February 22, 2010 12:05 pm at 12:05 pm |
  22. Victim of GOP Taliban

    Gays already are serving in the military. They just have to lie and not tell.

    February 22, 2010 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  23. carrie

    It is the right thing to do!

    February 22, 2010 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  24. New Age Independent

    As former military, it's easier for me to understand that the general public have no clue what the living conditions are of our service members. The public enjoys basic privacy rights, but thinks our service members have no right to them?

    Until such time as the general public are forced into communal bathroom, shower, and living facilities regardless of sex or orientation, I will not support gays in the military.

    February 22, 2010 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  25. Daniel

    Why should anyone care if a gay wants to fight for his/her own country? What about all the hetrosexual troops? Don't you think they are doing the wild thing and having the average dating and marriage issues?

    February 22, 2010 12:17 pm at 12:17 pm |
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