May 25th, 2010
10:19 AM ET
13 years ago

CNN Poll: Nearly 8 in 10 favor gays in the military

(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.

Filed under: CNN Polls • Don't Ask Don't Tell • Popular Posts
soundoff (33 Responses)
  1. Jayne

    I am glad that American people are WAY AHEAD of these stupid politicians. Every country in the civilized world has gays serving in the military. Why is it taking so long here?

    May 25, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  2. gt

    ,,,, drip... drip,,, drip,,, drip.. slow decay of america....drip drip..

    May 25, 2010 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  3. Shucks

    They pay taxes, they vote, they fight in the military, they are police officers, lawyers, doctors, religious leaders, judges, sports athletes. But here in this great nation of religious zealots and bigoted hateful "christians", they cannot marry or live within the definition of civil union except in a few states. What is wrong with this sick nation that we allow religion in any form to dictate how we treat the rights and freedoms of fellow Americans? I am so sick of it I could vomit. AMERICA HAS NOT ONLY OVERDOSED ON RELIGION, IT IS BEING DESTROYED BY IT.

    May 25, 2010 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  4. aproudmemberoftheunpatrioticmob

    Stock market dropping fast, retirement savings in the tank, threat of national bankruptcy and this corrupt, inept administration worries about gays in the military while it tries to figure out how not to enforce the laws concerning immigration so it can get the Hispanic vote. Obozo and everyone appointed by him needs to be in jail. If we told him the illegal immigrants were rich and Republican (he is dumb enough where he would believe it) that problem would be solved overnite.

    May 25, 2010 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  5. Scott in Atlanta

    For some reason, when I think of a trained killer who'll defend my country, Parez Hilton doesn't come to mind...

    May 25, 2010 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  6. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Polls are nice.

    This poll,however, underreports the actual percentage. I would venture to say that 10 in 10 favor gays in the military. Do you know why? It's because gays are the "New Blacks". Yes, I said it! We treat gays the exact same way we used to treat Blacks to their face. During WWII Blacks could enlist in services, fight and die for their country, and then come home to be shunned and discriminated against. Sound familiar? Nothings' changed.

    Add to this the FACT that we've turned into a nation full of spoiled, punks who'd rather send YOU to war than to have to sign up themselves and you pretty much get the full picture. So, yes that would be 10 out of 10 if somebody finally told the truth.

    Oh look, a 747 flying over NYC everybody scatter, scream and run. Shame.

    May 25, 2010 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  7. JT from MO

    I think that this is a good sign; as a young person, I see no problem with allowing gays in the military. To me, everyone is a human with a set of emotions and a conscious that we, as a society, need to care about. We should remember our core principle of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that applies to everyone, no matter who they are. I recently took a course in Psychology, and for a month, we studied Social Psychology; there is two types of cultures: Individualistic and Collectivistic. Individualism is focusing on the individual, and Collectivistism focuses on the society as a whole. Most societies are inbetween the two extremes, and in America, we are a very special case. We focus on both of those with character and morality; that is our core principle we should remember. Everyone, whether they are gay, straight, liberal, conservative, black, white, hispanic, adult, and child, should be treated with moral respect and decency; that is the potential that we have. Lets make that a reality for future generations to cherish and be proud of us for.

    May 25, 2010 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  8. eugene

    As far as what gay men do in the bedroom has little to do with how they perform on the battlefield. If they are good soldiers why is it an issue what they do in their personal lives? They don't answer to me or any other human being for their "sins" just as you or I don't answer to another human being for our "sins".

    May 25, 2010 10:49 am at 10:49 am |
  9. American Patriot -- a "real" tea partier

    I don't care about a person's sexual preferences as long as it goes on between consenting adults. I don't care if someone is into opposite sex, same sex - when the bad guys start shooting at us, I want our people to start shooting back. It doesn't matter who they sleep with.

    May 25, 2010 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  10. Remember the Alamo

    You're again asking the wrong people. Ask the soldiers. They are the ones who have to live wach other. I am a 30-yr veteran and have no objection. But, there or millions serving their country. Ask them. Not the street walkers who critize everything our Army tries to do. An a President who will not fund the Armies.

    May 25, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  11. Russ in Benton AR

    The military will become a much better place whin the thousands of closet gays can come out and serve their country openly.

    May 25, 2010 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  12. ThinkAgain

    My grandmother, who died in 1996 at the age of 90, worked in the Bremerton, Washington shipyards during WWII. She survived the Great Depression and was one of the strongest people I've ever known.

    I remember talking to her in 1994 (when she was 88 years old) about gays serving in the military, and her response was, "If they want to serve their country, we should let them."

    She was not a Liberal, per se; she was just a person who had lived through very trying times and knew that what counted when it came to defending our country was character. A person's sexuality was a private affair, and as long as a gay person followed the other codes of military conduct (not fraternizing with superiors, etc.), she absolutely didn't have a problem with gays serving.

    I agree whole-heartedly with my Grandma – and support the release of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."

    May 25, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  13. Big John

    They're already in so what's the problem? If they don't admit their status does that make them any less gay? NO! So what's the deal..?
    Same for gay marriage, what's the issue if someone wants marry who they please? It's no threat to me, live and let live.

    May 25, 2010 11:04 am at 11:04 am |
  14. uh60sgt

    One small comment. I am a SGT currently serving in the U.S. Army and I am deployed to Iraq. I personally don't have a problem with gays or lesbians BUT I think that allowing them in the military should be left to the military and not to civilian lawmakers or the general public. We are the only ones who should have a say in who does and does not server. A simple solution would be to poll every single service member with a simple yes/no question. They poll us and take surveys about everything else under the sun, but when "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" is up for debate our voices are unfairly ignored.

    May 25, 2010 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. Obama would mess up a 1 car funeral

    Now ram this down the military throats to save face as a politician.Give the military the time they need to implement this ,they will make it work,but give them the lead way they need,you know they are fighting a war now.

    May 25, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  16. K in VA

    It's a shame so many members of Congress lack the good sense and decency of 78% of the people they represent!

    May 25, 2010 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  17. Marie MD

    They are already in the military!!! My next door neighbor served in the Gulf War and she is proud of her service.
    It's completely dumb to get rid of people who speak any Arabic dialect just because they like someone of the same sex. The heck with our national security!!!

    May 25, 2010 11:18 am at 11:18 am |
  18. Steve (the real one)

    Not quite a news flash but gays are already in the military! In my opinion , EVERYBODY's sex life should be a private, quiet matter!

    May 25, 2010 11:19 am at 11:19 am |
  19. Andy

    NO jobs NO stop of oil flow NO stability of Wall St. NO good economic outlook AND Obama is on top of DADT repeal- I believe we have more pressing issues (and we are AT WAR )-what timing

    May 25, 2010 11:20 am at 11:20 am |
  20. jay in denver

    These arguments always remind me of the scene from "The West Wing" in which Admiral Fitzwallace, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff played so well by John Amos, gives his take on gays in the military when told that they would be a threat to unit discipline and cohesion:

    "The problem with that is that what they were saying to me 50 years ago. Blacks shouldn't serve with Whites. It would disrupt the unit. You know what? It did disrupt the unit. The unit got over it. The unit changed. I'm an admiral in the U.S. Navy and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff . . . Beat that with a stick."

    I can only hope that it will take this country a lot less than another 50 years to have an out and proud gay man or woman serving as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs.

    May 25, 2010 11:22 am at 11:22 am |
  21. T'SAH from Virginia

    That's because most likely more than 8 in 10 Americans either know someone or have someone in their family that is gay!!!

    This should not even be an ISSUE – should never have been an ISSUE – and if I were in the Armed Service right now, my main concern would be that I had a PARTNER next to me that is true to heart and fighting for the SAME CAUSE – PERIOD!!!

    May 25, 2010 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  22. Dennis

    I am glad that the eight got it right.

    May 25, 2010 11:26 am at 11:26 am |
  23. Elizabeth in OC

    It's about time!

    May 25, 2010 11:28 am at 11:28 am |
  24. No Incumbents 2010

    National security policy should not be based on what is politically popular. Conducting a poll on this topic is offensive. Using the military for social experimentation is very risky.

    May 25, 2010 11:30 am at 11:30 am |
  25. Robert

    Americans are FINALLY growing up about this issue. Now patriotic citizens who want to serve their country will at last be allowed to do so without compromising their integrity (ie. being forced by their government to lie/deceive). Gays in the military should never have been treated like second-class citizens - especially since they've been putting their lives on the line to protect the rights of all citizens.

    May 25, 2010 11:33 am at 11:33 am |
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