In President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, he called for ending the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and allowing gay men and women to serve openly in our armed forces. That change would be welcomed by the American public judging from recent polling data.
Here are illustrative data from a just-released Quinnipiac University poll. In that poll the public, by a strong 57-36 margin, said the federal law prohibiting openly gay men and women from serving in the military should be repealed.
Moreover, by more than a 2-to-1 ratio—66 percent to 31 percent—the public agrees that not allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military is discriminatory.
Finally, the public disagrees by a similar 65-30 margin that allowing openly gay men and women in the armed forces would be divisive for the troops and impair their ability to fight.
In the court of public opinion, this looks like an open-and-shut case. Congress, take note.
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.