(CNN) - Most Americans say people who are openly gay should be allowed to serve in the U.S. military, according to a new national poll.
A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday indicates that 78 percent of the public supports allowing openly gay people to serve in the military, with one in five opposed.
"Support is widespread, even among Republicans. Nearly six in ten Republicans favor allowing openly gay individuals to serve in the military," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "There is a gender gap, with 85 percent of women and 71 percent of men favoring the change, but support remains high among both groups."
Full results [pdf]
The poll's release comes just hours after Congressional Democrats reached an agreement Monday with the White House and possibly the Pentagon on a key legislative step toward repealing the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that bars openly gay soldiers from the military.
In a letter to President Barack Obama obtained by CNN, three congressional sponsors of legislation to repeal the policy outlined the proposed agreement that would set contingencies based on completion of a military review of the matter already under way and subsequent final approval from the president and military leaders.
Specifically, the proposed agreement calls for repeal to become final only after completion of the military review expected by the end of 2010, followed by a review certification from Obama, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen.
The Pentagon released a statement Tuesday saying that "Secretary Gates continues to believe that ideally the DOD review should be completed before there is any legislation to repeal the Don't Ask Don't Tell law. With Congress having indicated that is not possible, the Secretary can accept the language in the proposed amendment."
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 21-23, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.
–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report.
they serve elsewhere, at all levels, get over it,
If someone wants to put their life on the line to protect this country, I could care less what their sexual orientation is (unless thye have hurt children, then they are just as bad as the enemy).
This retired vet supports cancelling DON't ASK, DON'T TELL"...never made sense to me anyway! Especially when we want our troops to be honest and open, yet we penalize them for telling the truth! And what does being gay have to do with serving this wonderful country and doing a good job! Our military has always had gay people serving from the top of the ranks down to the basic trainee! And we still have the best military force on the planet!
Its not the public's opinion that matters on this. Its those in the military that should decide...they're the ones putting their lives on the line together.
My two sons are putting their lives at risk every day in the military ...for what?
Our sons and daughters are shedding their blood every day fighting for this country.. and that fight includes fighting for homosexuals to be able to live in a free country...
Although I am personally against homosexuality, I say that homosexuals should be allowed to shed their own blood on the battle-field. Why should my two sons be in harms way, and they shouldn't???
Why should gays be protected from serving, when my two sons are serving? When we kick gays out of the military we are protecting their lives and your daughters and my sons have to make up the slack.
It is a matter of commonsense. Let every one who wants to die for this country be allowed to do so!!!
I am amazed that this country still has an issue with gays in the military. Any individual, male or female, willing to put their life on the line in defense of their country should be allowed to serve, regardless of their sexual orientation. These individuals are willing to defend the freedoms of the very same people opposed there service. It is time for the United States to become the progressive nation it was inteded to be and end all this backward, self-righteous prejudice.
Maybe America is a Christian/Christlike Nation after all.
WHO CARES? Our opinon and the media's opinon and Congress's opinion DOES NOT MATTER.
The only opinoon that matters is that of the Joint Chiefs and their subordinates. If they don't like the old CLINTON policy and want gays in serving openly, then fine.
let the military decide. They have been successful for 100 years because of one simple reason: They are NOT a Democracy. They are run like a dictatorship from the Joint Chiefs on down. It is how a military HAS to be run.