Support for gays in military tops two-thirds

September 23, 2013, 1:43 PM GMT+0

Two years after homosexuals were allowed to openly serve in the military, two-thirds of Americans support the change.

It has been nearly three years since Congress passed a bill to overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The new system would allow homosexuals to serve openly once the President, Secretary of Defense and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff all certified that the change would not affect military readiness. On September 20th 2011 the law changed and in the past two years many soldiers, including some prominent officers, have openly said that they are homosexual.

The latest YouGov research shows that support for homosexuals serving openly is largely unchanged from August 2011, when 63% of Americans supported the right to serve openly and 23% opposed it. Today 67% support it and 18% oppose, though significant partisan differences still persist. 81% of Democrats support the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, compared to 48% of Republicans. Despite this, Republicans are more likely to support than oppose this, with only 31% saying that they oppose the ability of homosexuals to serve openly.

One of the key moments that allowed the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell was the certification by the President and top military officials in the country that the move would not harm the military. Most Americans tend to agree and in each of three categories - fighting ability, unit teamwork and overall morale - a majority say that the move has had 'no effect' or has even 'helped'. Nevertheless, across all three a number of Americans believe that the move has harmed the military's performance. Only 15% say that the move harmed 'fighting ability' but 25% say it hurt 'unit teamwork' and 27% say it harmed 'overall morale'.

Interestingly, Americans tend to overstate the percentage of the population that is homosexual, both for society as a whole and within the military. Most estimates of how many Americans are homosexual hover around 2-3%, while the highest reach 10%. Americans tend to assume far higher rates, saying that 22% of the general public and 14% of the military are homosexual.

Full results can be found here.

Image: Getty.

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