Military officially ends homosexuality ban, gay recruits trickle in
WASHINGTON, D.C., September 21, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The U.S. military’s ban on open homosexuality officially ended Tuesday, and gay recruits began trickling towards recruiting tables this week.
“Today, every American can be proud that we have taken another great step toward keeping our military the finest in the world and toward fulfilling our nation’s founding ideals,” said President Obama in a statement.
A rainbow flag-bedecked recruiting area awaited applicants to the Marines in Tulsa, where the New York Times followed Marine officials who were invited to the city’s largest gay community center to seek applicants. Expecting a clash with angry protesters, news cameras found little action, either favoring or opposing the change: by 3 pm, the recruiting booth was visited by three lesbians, none of them ideal recruits, reports the NYT.
The military policy known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” officially ended on Tuesday after President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta signed off on the repeal in July.
However, the same week, news emerged of an April report from the Defense Department Inspector General showing strong evidence that the military survey upon which the repeal movement depended had been engineered to favor the change, and the results deliberately skewed in leaks to the media.
Investigators found that the co-chair of the commission had already authored a pro-repeal “review” of the report days before the survey questions were even sent to soldiers, and several weeks before the survey was completed.
In addition, according to investigators a misleading characterization of the survey’s results was leaked to the media prior to the report’s release by a highly-placed person who was “not a ‘disinterested party’” regarding repeal.
“[E]vidence showed the source carefully disclosed specific survey data to support a pro-repeal agenda ... to gain momentum in support of a legislative change during the ‘lame duck’ session of Congress,” notes the IG report. Investigators point out that the same survey data could have been skewed to reflect extremely anti-repeal numbers by manipulating the “mixed effect” replies in the opposite direction.
Taken apart from the “mixed effect” statistic, the survey showed evidence of strong opposition to repeal, particularly among troops with on-the-ground experience. Among respondents with combat deployment experience since September 11, 2011, four times as many troops said that a repeal would have a negative or very negative impact in a field environment than those who anticipated a positive or very positive one, 44 percent to 11 percent.
In addition, over twelve times as many Marine combat troops said repeal would impact unit readiness negatively as those who responded positively, while Army combat troops were six times more likely to be negative than positive.
The Pentagon report was conducted last year to gauge reactions to repealing the ban, which Congress agreed in December 2010 would only be lifted once “the President, Secretary, and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff certify to the congressional defense committees that they have considered the report.”