Half of Democrats Favor Punishing Soldiers Who Oppose Homosexuality, Survey Finds

August 10, 2010 - 6:54 PM
A nationwide survey found that 59 percent of Democrats think that members of Congress should consider the opinions of homosexual advocacy groups over top military commanders when considering a repeal of the law prohibiting homosexuality in the military. And half of Democrats support penalizing soldiers opposed to homosexuality, including those who oppose it for religious reasons.
US troops in Kandahar

U.S. Army soldiers from the 1-320th Alpha Battery, 2nd Brigade of the 101st Airborne Division on patrol in the volatile Arghandab Valley in Kandahar on Tuesday, July 20, 2010. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

(CNSNews.com) – A nationwide survey of 1,000 likely voters found that 59 percent of Democrats think that members of Congress should consider the opinions of homosexual advocacy groups over the opinions of top military commanders when considering a repeal of the law prohibiting homosexuality in the military.

The survey also showed that half of Democrats support penalizing soldiers opposed to homosexuality, including those who oppose it for religious reasons.
 
“Americans understand that the current push for sexual minorities in the military is motivated by politics, not principle,” Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, said in a statement about the poll results on Tuesday.
 
“Instead of seeking favor with a minority of LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender] activists, lawmakers should heed the advice of military leaders who support the current law,” Donnelly added.
 
The Military Culture Coalition (MCC), which is affiliated with the Center for Military Readiness, commissioned the survey, conducted by the Polling Company/WomanTrend, to ask likely voters questions regarding possible repeal of the 1993 law regarding homosexuals serving in the military (U.S. Code Title 10, Sec. 654), which is often incorrectly referred to as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” 
 
The 1993 law (U.S. Code Title 10, Sec. 654), passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton, prohibits homosexuals from serving in the military. 
 
The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) policy was implemented in a Defense Department directive approved by President Clinton in 1993 as a semi-compromise – homosexuals could serve in the military provided they did not disclose their sexual preference; and military officials could not ask about a person’s sexual preference.
 
While the DADT policy could be revised by the president and the Defense Department, the federal law (U.S. Code Title 10, Sec. 654) against homosexuals serving in the armed forces, to be changed, would have to be revised or repealed by Congress.
 
“There are new questions here that have not been asked by other civilian polls, particularly the issue of discrimination against anyone who disagrees, for any reason, and the intent of the advocates of repeal,” said Donnelly on a conference call announcing the poll results. 
 
“We took information and language straight from their reports and their recommendations for changing the way the military deals with homosexuals and bisexuals, lesbians, gays, transgenders, the LGBT faction that the president has endorsed,” said Donnelly.
 
“We asked the likely voters what they thought of that, and they did not take a very kind view of any of that. They took a dim view of it,” she said.
 
“We see opposition to the radical changes that would occur if the law is repealed,” Donnelly said.
 
That opposition, however, was not overwhelming among self-identified Democrats, according to the poll
 
When asked if they believed that the military should attempt to change personal attitudes and feelings toward homosexuality and impose “zero tolerance” career penalties on anyone who disagrees for any reason, including religious convictions, if the current law is overturned, half of Democrats agreed to imposing punishments.
 
Meanwhile, 52 percent of likely voters who served in the military believe that imposing career penalties on anyone who disagrees would discriminate against military personnel and chaplains who do not support homosexuality. 
 
Half of likely voters with gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender family members also said that imposing penalties would be discriminatory, along with 51 percent of Independents and 66 percent of Republicans.
 
Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, said on Tuesday’s conference call that the furor of homosexual activists over the survey that the Defense Department is now performing on homosexual service is, “just a foretaste of the kind of radical agenda that will be inflicted upon the military if and when they find themselves in the situation where there will be so-called ‘zero tolerance’ of any opposition or any impediment to the full implementation of this homosexual agenda.” 
 
“That means, I think you will see the all-volunteer force broken,” Gaffney said.
 
“Neither the elected people, clearly, nor their elected representatives, nor the United States military want to go back to the draft, but I’m afraid that is almost certainly in the cards if we ignore the findings of this poll, ignore the judgments of our senior military, and go ahead and allow a radical homosexual agenda – and I think that’s what it really is, to break the all-volunteer force,” said Gaffney.
 
Lt. Col. Bob Maginnis (Ret.), who was a member of the Army’s study group examining the homosexual ban in 1993 and was an advisor to the Defense Department Military Working Group on homosexuals in the military, agreed with Gaffney’s sentiments that reversing the ban would create a recruiting problem for the military.
 
“It would create a morale problem, primarily due to privacy violations and concerns that we found in ’93, and I think just as valid today,” said Maginnis. “And then, finally, it threatens the freedom of those who – like chaplains and other people of faith – who find this lifestyle morally objectionable, and that’s something that we all need to be concerned about especially in an all-volunteer force.”
 
Retired Gen. Carl Mundy, former commandant of the Marine Corps, also agreed with Gaffney.
 
Mundy, along with over 1,000 other distinguished retired military leaders from all branches of the service, sent a letter to President Barack Obama and members of Congress in 2009 affirming that homosexuality is incompatible with military service.
 
“What we emphasized was that we believed that the repeal of the law, the imposition of the homosexual, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender lifestyle in the armed forces would be disaggregating to morale, discipline, and unit cohesion,” Mundy said on Tuesday. “Moreover, we thought that it would have an impact, as Frank highlighted, on recruiting and retention.”
 
When asked if Congress should listen mostly to advocates who want to overturn the law banning homosexuality in the military and require the armed forces to accept professed lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons in the military, 59 percent of Democrats agreed that Congress should listen to homosexual advocates, according to the survey.
 
Only 28 percent of Democrats thought that Congress should listen mostly to the four chiefs of staff of the Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps, who have expressed concerns about overturning the current law. Republicans supported giving deference to the military overwhelmingly at 71 percent, with 49 percent of Independents in agreement.
 
The MCC poll also found that 48 percent of likely voters would prefer that their elected representatives in Washington vote to keep the 1993 law as it is, including 57 percent of those with military service. However, 65 percent of Democrats said that they wanted the law overturned.
 
A Washington Post-ABC News poll from February 2010 found that 75 percent of adults polled believed that homosexuals who publicly disclose their sexual orientation should be allowed to serve in the military. The poll did not specifically ask respondents if they favored repealing the current law. 
 
The Department of Defense is currently polling service members to assess their thoughts about homosexuals serving in the military. The 32-page survey, which military officials intended for circulation only among service members, was leaked on the Internet causing some homosexual advocacy groups to complain about the questions.
 
“The Department of Defense survey does not even ask the question, ‘Do you favor repeal or retention of the law?’ So it is flawed for that reason,” Donnelly said, “but I think some of the criticisms coming from the gay activist groups have really been ridiculous because they object to asking questions about the real details of what would actually ensue if this law is repealed.”
 
Legislation to repeal the 1993 law may appear in the Senate before the end of the year.