Troops Liking Gays More Than Usual

Flickr/<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/theslowlane/848034996/">theslowlane</a>

Facts matter: Sign up for the free Mother Jones Daily newsletter. Support our nonprofit reporting. Subscribe to our print magazine.


When Admiral Mike Mullen, the Joint Chiefs chairman, blew everybody’s mind this month by advocating an end to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it was easy to be skeptical. Perhaps you suspected, like John McCain and Ted Nugent, that Mullen wasn’t speaking for the military’s rank-and-file members. After all, the all-volunteer force isn’t widely recognized as a progressive institution.

That may be changing, though. On Wednesday, Military Times released results of a services-wide poll that showed officers and enlisteds across all four branches are more accepting of gays in their ranks, and less comfortable than ever with DADT. That gels with today’s anecdotal story that no subordinates are calling Mullen out on DADT in his occasional Q-and-A sessions with them.

The poll requires some qualification: slightly more than half of the 3,000 respondents still said they oppose repealing the current law. Nevertheless, support for full gay equality is higher than in Military Times‘ previous polls. Maybe it’s because so many of the service members they spoke to admitted being gay: by the paper’s figures, there are three times as many lesbians in the military as there are in society at large.

Don’t be too surprised: Any institution that employed the likes of Woody Guthrie, Howard Zinn, Johnny Cash, and Hunter S. Thompson can’t be entirely retrograde. As one airman told the AP today: “The U.S. military was always at the forefront of social change. We didn’t wait for laws to change.”

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

THE TRUTH...

is the first thing despots go after. An unwavering commitment to it is probably what draws you to Mother Jones' journalism. And as we're seeing in the US and the world around, authoritarians seek to poison the discourse and the way we relate to each other because they can't stand people coming together around a shared sense of the truth—it's a huge threat to them.

Which is also a pretty great way to describe Mother Jones' mission: People coming together around the truth to hold power accountable.

And right now, we need to raise about $400,000 from our online readers over the next two months to hit our annual goal and make good on that mission. Read more about the information war we find ourselves in and how people-powered, independent reporting can and must rise to the challenge—and please support our team's truth-telling journalism with a donation if you can right now.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate