End of Don't Ask Don't Tell may be in sight

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This week could mark the beginning of the end for Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (DADT) in the U.S. military. The Pentagon will release a report this afternoon that, according to early reports, will show that the vast majority of troops (70 percent of soldiers under 30) either are in favor of repealing DADT or don’t really care one way or the other. The release of the poll data by the Pentagon is the first step in this week’s DADT “process.” Later this week, Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Mike Mullen will urge the Senate to join the House of Representatives and vote for repeal. The Pentagon’s report will also report to Congress on ways to go forward with implementing a repeal.

If that’s not enough incentive to goose the Senate into the 21st century, maybe a new survey, conducted by the Pew Research Center and the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life, will convince the codgers to get moving. Pew’s survey confirms what poll after poll has shown in the past few years, namely that a majority of Americans (this time, by a 58 percent-27 percent margin) favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. The survey also shows that nearly every group except the far right of the GOP favors repeal. Read the details of the survey here. And here’s hoping enough Republican senators will listen to the Pentagon, rather than their Tea Party backers, and the rest of the party’s rearguard that wants the country to go back to the “golden age” of the 1950s, when gays (and women and blacks) knew their place. We’re not counting on GOP senators being able to read the writing on our culture’s wall, but there’s always hope.

Cartoon courtesy Chan Lowe, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

Cartoon courtesy Chan Lowe, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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