According to a Pew Research Center survey released today, 58 percent of Americans are in favor of allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. Among self-identified Republicans, however, 40 percent are in favor, while 44 percent are in opposition. One last twist: Only 38 percent of Republicans and Republican leaners who say they agree with the tea-party movement support allowing gays to serve openly, while 48 percent of tea partiers are opposed. But, still, the idea that nearly 40 percent of even a radical makeshift Republican fringe group believe gays should serve openly is pretty remarkable.
These new numbers come two days before a Pentagon survey regarding “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which bars gays from serving openly in the military, falls on Obama’s desk. However, that survey leaked to the Washington Post and Rachel Maddow earlier this month, and allegedly shows that 70 percent of active-duty and reserve troops said the effect of repealing “don’t ask, don’t tell” would be positive, mixed, or just nonexistent. Oh, and there was that other poll, by CBS News and the New York Times, back in February, in which 58 percent of polled Americans — the exact same number Pew is reporting today — said “gay men and lesbians” should be allowed to serve openly in the military.
Hopefully, for Congress, this is a point taken. However, the Atlantic notes: “It would be difficult for Congress to end DADT before next year. It’s wrapped up in the Defense authorization bill, and Republican senators have said they want to be able to debate amendments unrelated to DADT. It doesn’t look like there will be enough time to do that before the end of the year.” Oh, okay, they’re out of time, bills just piling up to be passed last minute. Awesome.