February 22nd, 2010
11:35 AM ET
1 year 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. Marc

    Jeff from Chicago – Are you the 'voice' of those who are in the military?
    Thought so...

    February 22, 2010 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  2. SocialismBad

    Just what this country needs... Another ridiculous argument over political correctness. Every time a Democrat gets in the Whitehouse, they have cater to their gay constituency with this BS.

    To all you DIMWITS saying there are already gays and lesbians in the military, well no kidding! That's what the current policy ALLOWS.

    All the current policy says is keep your sexual preferences TO YOURSELF. It has no place in the military, or anywhere else. I don't want it paraded in my workplace. You knew the rules when you signed up. If you can't live by the rules, then find another job.

    So if this passes will the military also allow polygamists? Or maybe people who love their dogs and sheep??!! Why discrimate against these people who choose to love "differently"?

    February 22, 2010 12:59 pm at 12:59 pm |
  3. Ken in Pisgah Forest

    Gays were booted out of the military before 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'. At least that law offered them some protection. What will happen without it? Will it go back to the old way of asking and booting, or will it prevent the booting all together?

    DADT came about because the Pentagon asked for it when we were losing too many gays, particularly Arabic translators, and they had to do something to retain these people. Going back to before DADT and not offering new protections does not make any sense.

    February 22, 2010 01:01 pm at 1:01 pm |
  4. john

    Homosexuality is a disease, acceptance and promotion is not the cure.

    February 22, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  5. Marc

    Most of the arguments against the presence of openly gay/lesbian people in the military reminds me of the arguments against the integration in the military forces, no more 'white' battalion and 'black' battalion just 'battalions', or the active presence of women in the battlefield.
    Why?
    Because they were issued by the same kind of people ('If this happens it will be the end of the USA!!!!' and other 'the sky is falling' arguments) and could be easily debunked by facts.
    Fact = gays and lesbian ARE SERVING right about now.
    Fact = the mess which the Iraq and Afghanistan turned out to be CANNOT be branded on them.

    February 22, 2010 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  6. Jon Krieger

    I'm perfectly okay with gays in the military and gays getting married.In both instances,they're gonna see a lot of combat!

    February 22, 2010 01:04 pm at 1:04 pm |
  7. Zach K

    It should be more than 69%. The Armed Forces should AND always be an Equal Opportunity Employer. If you would love to serve and protect your country from evil, you have an absolute right. DADT was not correct then, and it is not correct today. Repeal It.

    February 22, 2010 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  8. Debbie

    1) Gays are already serving so its more a matter of acknowledging the truth that they are there.
    2) We have a volunteer military and cannot afford to lose any people while fighting two wars.

    February 22, 2010 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  9. They are serving now!!!!

    As a 26 year veteran and retiree, I have served with many gays and lesbians. It doesn't matter, everyone knows who they are now just like they will know who they are when the current policy changes. What is the big deal?

    February 22, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  10. JJ

    I don't get why people are getting so worked up over this. I mean, this wouldn't change very much other than if somebody finds out that they are gay they won't get kicked out. Just because somebody comes out doesn't make they want to rape somebody. Anybody who is against this doesn't realize how little this would change anything. I think people against it just want any way to keep gays down, and that is ridiculous, gays are the same exact kind of person as anybody else, they bleed the same way, they breath the same way, they eat the same way, and in this case they would serve our country the same exact way as anybody else.

    February 22, 2010 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  11. chris L

    bout time really ... I am a former soldier and served 6 years honorably I don’t think any one really knows how many gays and lesbians are in the army. A few came out to me and some I already knew but all were good soldiers some even better than the strait ones. I hold them in great esteem for the simple fact they are willing to fight and die for a country that does not approve of them. And they chose to do it unlike many of the people here enjoying their freedom by saying gays should not join but not willing to sacrifice for it. I say let them join let them be open and let them be free also. As I once told my plt SGT ‘if you are willing to fight with me, for me, you are always my brother’ you can add sister in there too lol

    February 22, 2010 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  12. daffy22

    I think everybody should serve in some form are fashion every man woman and child.

    February 22, 2010 01:30 pm at 1:30 pm |
  13. Gumdrops

    @jules sand-perkins – Amen! I'm a straight woman who was married to a gay man. After 4 children and a really horrible marriage we got divorced. Now he's happy, I'm happy and the kids are happy. I wish gays would be able to marry each other in all 50 states and not feel they have to marry straights. Gays DO NOT CHOOSE to be gay – since God made them that way, how can it be wrong????

    February 22, 2010 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. chris L

    @New Age Independent really???? do you think they were not showering with you or sleeping in your billet/barracks ... the only difference you did not know… riddle me this… would you A)like to know who is gay so you can steer clear of sharing showers or B)not know at all and have the fear that is in your mind questioning if he/she is checking you out… it is ok if your homophobic steer clear and drive on after all lots of old fossil soldiers like yourself felt the same way about blacks and women back in the day… times change hooah, you have to change with them, if not our army would still be fighting in trenches … o btw a gay man is the reason we were able to code break during ww2 and our the blue book was written by a man that ran away from Europe for homosexual conduct in the army he came from… lol we would not have D&C if not for a gay man

    February 22, 2010 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  15. Citizen Voter

    Almost all other countries allow openly gay service members, but here in the US we live in the dark ages. It's time for USA to grow up and become part of the modern world.

    February 22, 2010 01:43 pm at 1:43 pm |
  16. daffy22

    can you imagine 500 million chinese regulars walking down the streets of america and god only knows how many muslim terrorist. i know if we don't pay back the almost one trillion dollars we borrrow from china and japan to finance the wars in afghanistan and iraq they are going to be madder than hell.

    February 22, 2010 01:45 pm at 1:45 pm |
  17. Aaron Seattle

    My there a lot of homophobic insecure men on the blog thread today!? What's the matter boys, think your homo-erotic hazing and carrying on actually is a turn on for some, more open and accepting individuals??? Get over yourselves, this is no different that taking a shower at a local gym and sleeping in bunk beds. Gays already serve in the military all this does is allow them to keep their jobs. This isn't providing them "special treatment" this is just about job security and protecting America. PERIOD. I feel some people mix patriotism w/ their own ideological views which is a BIG mistake to do.

    February 22, 2010 01:49 pm at 1:49 pm |
  18. Mike

    I like the way God handled Sodom & Gomorrah. Read Genesis 18:20. God has a lot to say about men who lust after other men. Read Leviticus chapter 18 and Romans chapter 1. In fact read the whole Bible you might learn something valuable.

    February 22, 2010 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  19. Equality for all

    To SocialismBad: It is obvious you are a homophobic idiot! Your comments consistently highlight your ignorance and bigotry. Gays and lesbians have been and will continue to be positive contributors to our military and society as a whole, however they should not be forced out of a job because they don't stay in the closet. Perhaps you would be a better human being if you took a long hard look at yourself and came out of your closet (most homophobes like you are actually closeted, self loathing homosexuals).

    February 22, 2010 01:57 pm at 1:57 pm |
  20. Charlie in Maine

    That's not what the recent lunatic fringe convention would tell you by God.

    February 22, 2010 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  21. Kitchen Police

    Lets see if we have this thing right... We want to stop qualified people from serving in our armed forces because they are gay? What does being gay, straight, or bi have to do with volunteering to die for your country?

    February 22, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  22. FemIdeal

    Sexual orientation shouldn't matter, should it? Agree with them or not, they're out there fighting for you.

    February 22, 2010 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  23. Libra

    This is a good way for them to learn how to be a "true man"

    February 22, 2010 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  24. Paulie

    This is where they belong.....on the front line!!

    February 22, 2010 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |
  25. Speak Softly and Carry a...oh, never mind.

    I'm all for identifying them and giving them a pink stripe or something, then we can put them in front during the battles.

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