News began to leak out during this past week that, when the troops serving the US in the field are asked whether it would matter to them if openly gay and lesbian Americans served with them, it doesn't.
MSNBC reports in part:
"An internal Pentagon study has found that most U.S. troops and their families don't care whether gays are allowed to serve openly and think the policy of 'don't ask, don't tell' could be done away with, according to officials familiar with its findings.
The survey results were expected to be used by gay rights advocates to bolster their argument that the 1993 law on gays could be repealed immediately with little harm done to the military. But the survey also was expected to reveal challenges the services could face in overturning the long-held policy, including overcoming fierce opposition in some parts of the military even if they represent a minority.
Details on the survey results were still scarce Thursday, with the Pentagon declining to discuss the findings until after Dec. 1 when it rolls out its own plan for repeal."
Retired military chaplains aren't so sure. According to the Seattle newspaper, dozens have expressed concern that allowing openly gay and lesbian Americans to serve this county could adversely impact the military careers of chaplains who think that they shouldn't.
If a chaplain preaches against homosexuality, he could conceivably be disciplined as a bigot under the military's nondiscrimination policy, the retired chaplains say. The Pentagon, however, says chaplains' religious beliefs and their need to express them will be respected.
Clergy would be ineligible to serve as chaplains if their churches withdraw their endorsements, as some have threatened to do if "don't ask, don't tell" ends. Critics of allowing openly gay troops fear that clergy will leave the service or be forced to find other jobs in the military that don't involve their faiths.
"The bottom line is religious freedom," said retired Army Brig. Gen. Douglas Lee, one of 65 former chaplains who signed a letter urging President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Robert Gates to keep "don't ask, don't tell."