Poll: Americans Want DADT Repealed, Split On How To Treat Gays In The Military

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As Washington debates the future of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, a new poll shows that an overwhelming majority of Americans have already made up their minds about the policy — and they want it gone.

Quinnipiac University polled more than 2,500 Americans about the military’s rules regarding gays serving openly and found that 66% called DADT “discrimination.” Fifty-seven percent say that homosexuals should be allowed to serve openly.

Inside the numbers though, is evidence that the issue of gays in the military is still very divisive for some groups, giving cover to the politicians who are fighting changes to DADT in Washington.Along partisan lines, Republicans oppose repeal of DADT, 53-40. They’re the only partisan group that feels that way. Democrats favor repeal 72-23, and independents back repeal 56-37. Republicans are one of the few demographic groups to oppose repeal, the poll found. When broken down along education and income lines, Americans support the end of DADT. The only other demographic group to oppose repeal other than members of the GOP are evangelical Christians.

Military families are split on repealing the rule, with 48% favoring an end to DADT and 47% opposing it.

Should Congress repeal DADT as President Obama and military leaders have advocated, today’s poll suggests new controversies about gays in the military. A 54-38 majority said homosexual soldiers should face “restrictions on exhibiting their sexual orientation on the job.” A similar 50-43 majority said the government should not provide benefits to the partners of gay members of the military. Americans are split on whether gay and straight soldiers “should be required” to share quarters. Forty-six percent of respondents said that the military should not require combined quarters, while 45% said it should.

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