Pentagon study: Gays could serve with no harm


Bay Area members of Congress are pushing for a repeal of the 17-year-old policy of 'don't ask, don't tell.' They point to the Pentagon survey as proof the policy should be scrapped.

"For large segments of the military, repeal of 'don't ask, don't tell' though potentially disruptive in the short term, would not be the wrenching, traumatic change that many have feared and predicted," Secretary of Defense Robert Gates said.

Gates based his conclusion on results from the survey of over 100,000 active duty and reservists and 44,000 military spouses. Just over half said repealing 'don't ask, don't tell' would have a mixed or no effect; 15 to 20 percent said it would have a positive effect and 30 percent thought repealing the policy would have a negative effect. However, those negative numbers went up among members of the Marine Corps and in Army combat units; 58 percent of Marine combat units thought allowing gays to serve openly would cause them concern or would have a negative impact.

"Well, obviously there are going to be some that will hold out because of their own personal values and their own personal beliefs," American Legion Post 448 Commander John Forrett said.

Forrett had to resign his commission when he came out after 12 years in the Army. The post's vice commander was kicked out of the Air Force for being gay.

"And I think that the time has come for a change and the change is coming soon," Richard Manning said.

The Senate will hold hearings on it this week and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., is promising a vote by the end of the year.

But on Capitol Hill Tuesday, Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., told Good Morning America Republicans have no appetite for repealing don't ask don't tell.

"The election was about tax cuts, the economy and jobs, that's what it was about, it wasn't about the Dream Act, it wasn't about 'don't ask, don't tell,'" McCain said.

Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., called on Senate Republicans to repeal 'don't ask, don't tell.' A repeal of the policy has been added to a defense appropriations bill Supporters are hoping for a vote before this Congress adjourns in three weeks.

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