Opinions of Military Personnel on Sexual Minorities in the Military

December 1, 2006
John Zogby, John Bruce, Rebecca Wittman, Sam Rodgers
Zogby International

Please click here to download this document as a PDF.

This survey of current and
recent military service personnel who have served in
Iraq or Afghanistan (or in combat support roles directly
supporting those operations) sought to explore the issue
of sexual minorities in the United States military,
specifically within the context of three key areas.

 

John Zogby, President and CEO

John Bruce, Vice President and Systems
Administrator

Rebecca Wittman, Vice President and Managing Editor

 

 

Sam Rodgers, Writer

 

 

 

 

 

December, 2006

 

 

 

© 2006 Zogby
International

 

 

 

Table Of Contents

 

 

   Subject
                                                                                                                  
Page   

 

  I.  Methodology and Sample
Characteristics                                                           
  2

 

 II.  Executive
Summary                                                                                            
  5

 

III.  Narrative
Analysis                                                                                              
  8

 

 

 

  Tables                                                                                                                                  

 

1. Intra-Unit Leadership And Cooperation                                                               
12

2. Impact Of Gay/Lesbian Presence On
Unit
Morale                                                
17

3. Assumed Impact Of
Gay/
Lesbian Presence On Unit Morale                                
18

4. Arguments For Keeping Gays/Lesbians From Serving                                         
23

5. Arguments For Allowing Gays/Lesbians To Serve                                               
24

 

 

I. Methodology and Sample
Characteristics

 

Methodology

 

Zogby International conducted
online interviews of 545 U.S. Military Personnel who
have served in Iraq and Afghanistan (or in combat
support roles directly supporting those operations),
from a purchased list of U.S. Military Personnel. The
online poll ran from 10/24/06 through
10/26/06. 
The margin of error is +/- 4.3 percentage points.
Margins of error are higher in sub-groups. Slight
weights were added to age and race to more accurately
reflect the population.  Data used in weighting
was obtained from official Department of Defense (DOD)
resources.

The panel used for this survey
is composed of over 1 million members and correlates
closely with the U.S. population on all key
profiles. 
The panel uses a double opt-in format through an
invitation only method.  Panelists are sourced
through a variety of commercial enterprises and all
recruitment methodologies fully comply with CASRO
guidelines. 
Each panelist is defined by over 400 variables,
therefore making the panel highly segmented and fully
representative of the US and military
population. 

 

Sample
Characteristics

Frequency

Valid

Percent*

Sample size

545

100

East

69

13

South

223

43

Central/Great Lakes

101

20

West

123

24

Did not answer state

29

--

Veteran

88

16

Active

353

65

Reserve/Guard,
mobilized

35

6

Reserve/Guard,
non-mobilized

69

13

Air Force

160

29

Army

251

46

Marines

35

7

Navy

92

17

Coast Guard

5

1

18-29

296

55

30-49

221

41

50-64

22

4

Did not answer age

6

--

White

375

73

Black/African
American

62

12

Spanish/Hispanic/Latino

47

9

American
Indian/Alaska Native

5

1

Asian

13

3

Hawaiian/Pacific
Islander

5

1

Other/Mixed

10

2

Did not
answer race

28

--

Baptist

85

17

Church
of
Christ

22

4

Episcopal

6

1

 

Sample Characteristics
(continued)

Frequency

Valid

Percent*

Jewish

6

1

Lutheran

35

7

Methodist

26

5

Mormon

6

1

Muslim

5

1

Pentecostal

16

3

Presbyterian

11

2

Roman Catholic

148

29

Seventh Day Adventist

1

0

Atheist/Realist/Humanist

17

4

Other/no affiliation

120

24

Did not answer
religion

36

--

Democratic

101

21

Republican

241

51

Independent/Minor
party

103

22

Not sure of party

32

7

Did not answer party

68

--

Male

451

85

Female

80

15

Did not answer gender

15

--

* Numbers have
been rounded to the nearest percent and might not total
100.

 

II.
Executive Summary

 

 

This survey of current and
recent military service personnel who have served in
Iraq or Afghanistan (or in combat support roles directly
supporting those operations) sought to explore the issue
of sexual minorities in the United States military,
specifically within the context of three key areas
– the size and characteristics of the gay and
lesbian population in the military, the views of service
personnel regarding the subject, and finally, the impact
of gays and lesbians on the military.

 

 

Population Within Service
Unit

 

By interviewing military
personnel who have served in Iraq or Afghanistan (both
those who have served and are serving currently), we
were able to capture a snapshot of the current military
environment with respect to this issue.  Our survey included
respondents from all service branches as well as Active
Duty Personnel, Veterans and Reservists.  The sample also
included combat and non-combat units as well as enlisted
men and officers.

 

The overall attitude of these
service members was optimistic.  Large majorities report
being well-trained, well-equipped and battle
ready. 
Additionally, most respondents believe that their
leadership (both Non-Commissioned Officers and
Commissioned Officers) was excellent and they report
feeling a high level of teamwork exists within their
unit.

 

Regarding the presence of gays
and lesbians in their units, a near majority (45%)
states that they suspect a member of
their unit is homosexual.  Roughly one-third (31%)
does not suspect a member of their unit.  Higher rates of
suspicion were found among Reservists (60%), Navy
Personnel (59%) and Females (56%).  The lowest rates were
found among Air Force Personnel (38%) and Officers
(33%).  When
asked how many unit members they suspected, two-thirds
of respondents (68%) said less than three.

 

Respondents were also asked if
the knew of
any members within their unit who were gay or
lesbian. 
Here, less than one quarter (23%) said they were
definitely aware.  Of those who were,
three-in-five (59%) report having been directly told by
the individual.  When asked how many
they knew
within their unit, the vast majority (75%) reported
knowing two or less.   A majority (55%)
also notes that the presence of gays and lesbians is
well-known within their unit. 

 

 

Opinions On Homosexuality

           

Asked whether they agree that
gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve in the
military, respondents were closely split with a
plurality (37%) disagreeing with the idea, and 26
percent agreeing they should be allowed. 

           

           
Of those agreeing with their inclusion, certain demographic
groups represented higher than average
support. 
Among those were Independents, African-Americans,
Women, those aged 25-34, and Women.  These subgroups were
largely more supportive of gays and lesbians in every
question, with Democrats and Hispanics also
frequently representing more open views toward gays
in the military. 

 

           
Within military subgroups, veterans and those having served
less than 4 years were also more likely to support the idea
of inclusion within the military, while Active Duty
Personnel, Officers, and those having served 15 or more
years were less likely to agree.  There was slight variance
among service branches, and this variance has been noted
where applicable. 

           

           
Three-quarters of those surveyed stated that they felt
comfortable around gays and lesbians and four-in-five (78%)
noted that they would join the military regardless of their
open inclusion. 
Additionally, a majority (52%) reports having received some
form of anti-gay harassment training, with Air Force
personnel representing the highest level of training (62%)
and the Marine Corps the lowest (34%). 

 

 

Perceived Impact

 

           
Of those who were certain that a member of their unit was
gay or lesbian, two-thirds did not believe that their
presence created an impact on either their personal morale
(66%) or the morale of their unit (64%).  Approximately one-quarter
of that group believed there to be a negative impact to
both. 

 

In contrast, of those who do
not suspect the presence of gays or lesbians within
their unit, only half (49%) perceive no impact on
personal morale, and only less than one-third (26%) feel
there would be no impact on their unit’s
morale. 
Regarding their unit’s morale, a majority of this
group (58%) believes if there were gays or lesbians
within their unit, there would be a negative
impact. 

 

Given a set of arguments both
for and against allowing gays in the military,
respondents were asked to choose those that were the
strongest. 
The most widely selected arguments for keeping gays and
lesbians from serving centered on the threat of their
presence undermining the unit (40%) or the threat of
harm befalling them (28%). 

 

When given the arguments in
support of allowing their inclusion, the two most
selected arguments were the irrelevance of sexual
orientation to job performance (39%) and the morality of
discriminating based on sexual orientation (30%).
Additionally, one-in-five respondents (21%) believed
there to be no strong arguments for the exclusion of
homosexuals, while one-in-five (19%) believe there to be
no strong arguments in their favor. 

 

 

Overall, this survey paints a
mixed picture for the future of gays and lesbians in the
military. 
While overwhelming majorities of those responding
display tolerance and understanding of the rights and
issues involved in the argument, there are still large
obstacles that must be overcome. 

 

 

III.
Narrative Analysis

 

1. What is your current status?

 

Active

65%

Veteran

16

Reserve/Guard,
non-mobilized

13

Reserve/Guard, mobilized

6

 

           
A majority of those surveyed (65%) indicated that they were
currently classified as Active Duty.  Almost one-in-five (19%)
identified themselves as being in the Reserves – 13
percent non-mobilized, 6 percent
mobilized. 
The reaming 16 percent noted their status as
Veterans.

 

 

2. In which branch of the
military do you serve? (Vets: In which branch of the
military did you serve?)

 

Army

46%

Air Force

29

Navy

17

Marines

7

Coast Guard

1

 

           
Respondents serving (or having served) in the Army composed
almost half (46%) of the sample size.  Three-in-ten (29%) noted
their service in the Air Force, with another 17 percent
affiliated or having been affiliated with the
Navy.  The
remaining respondents were either members of the Marines
(7%) or the Coast Guard (1%). 

 

 

3. (Veterans only) How
many years ago did you leave the service?

 

One

35%

Two

24

Three

17

Four

6

Five

19

 

           
More than two-in-three veteran respondents (59%) stated
that they had left the military within the past two
years.  The
remaining 42 percent left within the past five
years.  All took
part in operations in either Iraq and/or Afghanistan or
were involved in combat support operations related to those
two operations.

 

4. How many years have you
served in the U.S. military? (Vets: How many years did
you serve in the U.S. military?)

 

Less than four

11%

Four

9

Five

12

Six

8

7 to 10

20

11 to 20

27

21 to 30

12

 

           
Roughly one-third (32%) of those surveyed have (or did)
serve 5 or fewer years.  More than a quarter served
between either 6 to 10 years (28%) or between 11 to 20
years (27%).   Little more than
one-in-ten (12%) served longer than 20 years.

 

 

5. What is or was the highest grade
you achieved?

 

E2 – E9

66%

O1 – O8

31

W1 – W5

3

 

           
Nearly two thirds of respondents (66%) achieved their
highest rank as an enlisted man/woman.  An additional third (31%)
reached their highest rank as an officer, with the
remaining 3 percent identifying themselves as warrant
officers. 

 

 

The following are questions
about your current unit. If you just arrived at a new unit,
please answer for your last unit. (Vets: First
we’d like to ask some questions about the last unit
you served in.)

 

6. Is your unit a combat,
combat-support, or combat service support unit? (Vets:
Was the last unit in which you served a combat,
combat-support, or combat service support
unit?)

 

Combat

29%

Combat support

32

Combat service support

18

Other

19

Not sure

2

 

Nearly equivalent numbers of
respondents were currently in (or had last been in)
combat units (29%) and combat support units
(32%).  A
slightly smaller number, one-in-five (18%), listed their
current or last unit as a designated combat service
support unit.  The remaining
respondents were either in units under another
designation (19%) or were unsure about their
unit’s designation (2%).

 

Among service branches, more
than one-third of respondents from the Navy (39%) and
the Army (34%) classified their units as combat
units.  A
little fewer than one-in-five of those surveyed (19%)
from both the Air Force and the Marines listed
themselves as part of combat units.  Air Force members were
more likely to be part of units designated as combat
support (39%) than under any other
designation. 
Similarly, respondents from the Marine Corps were most
likely to be in combat service support designated units
(42%) than in any other such designated unit.

 

 

7. How would you rate your
unit’s level of training for its wartime mission?
(Vets: How would you rate your unit’s level of
training for its wartime mission? If it varied, think
generally about the last year you served in
it.)

 

Very well trained

43%

Above Average

83%

Well trained

39

Adequately trained

13

Poorly trained

3

Below Average

4

Very poorly trained

1

Not sure

1

 

           
The overwhelming majority of survey respondents (83%) rate
their current or former unit as well or very well
trained.  Only
one-in-twenty (4%) list their unit as being poorly or very
poorly trained for their wartime mission. 

 

When viewed by service
branches, some disparities emerge.  Among Air Force and
Marine respondents, nine-in-ten (89 and 90 percent,
respectively) rate their unit as having above adequate
training.  On
the other hand, four-in-five (80%) of Army and Navy
respondents each lists their units as above
average. 

 

The only subgroup that presents
a below average rating above 5 percent are Reservists,
whose net below average rating is 8
percent. 
Across Veterans, Active Duty Personnel, Enlisted men
and Officers, these ratings hold within the sample
error.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

8. How would you rate the
equipment your unit has for its wartime mission? (Vets:
How would you rate the equipment your unit had for its
wartime mission? Consider overall the last year you
served.)

 

Very well equipped

23%

Above Average

62%

Well equipped

39

Adequately equipped

28

Poorly equipped

7

Below Average

9

Very poorly equipped

2

Not sure

1

 

           
Three-out-of-five survey respondents (62%) rated their
unit’s equipment as well equipped (39%) or very well
equipped (23%). 
Less than one-in-ten (9%) rated their equipment for their
wartime mission as below average.  The remaining respondents
either stated that their unit was adequately equipped (28%)
or were uncertain (1%).

 

           
Within the service branches, respondents from the Air Force
rated their unit’s equipment readiness the highest
(76%), while members of Army gave their unit’s the
lowest rating (53%).  Approximately three-in-five
respondents in both the Navy (61%) and the Marine Corps
(62%) designated their units as having an above average
equipment readiness. 

 

Only the Army and Navy had
below average ratings – 13 and 12 percent,
respectively.  Among other significant
subgroups, the highest above average rating emerged from
officers (73%), while the highest below average rating
came from reservists (17%). 

 

 

9. How would you rate the
readiness of your unit for its wartime mission? (Vets:
How would you rate the readiness of your last unit for its
wartime mission? Again, think generally about the last year
you served.)

 

Very High

40%

Above Average

79%

High

39

Medium

17

Low

3

Below Average

4

Very Low

1

Not sure

1

 

Three-in-four respondents (79%)
rated their unit’s overall readiness as above
average, with only 4 percent designating their unit as
below average.  Members of three
service branches – the Navy, Air Force and Marine
Corps – rated their readiness higher than the
overall above average rating, with 82 percent, 86
percent and 90 percent respectively. Slightly less than
three quarters of Army respondents (73%) rated their
units the same.

 

Among other sub groups, only
Officers (85%) and Active Duty Personnel (82%) gave
their units higher ratings than the overall
average.  The
overall results held across all other
subgroups. 

 

 

10 – 12. Do you agree or
disagree with the following statements?

 

Table 1. Intra-unit
Leadership and Cooperation

 

Agree

Neutral

Disagree

Not sure

Overall

Strongly agree

Agree

Overall

Disagree

Strongly Disagree

The NCOs in my unit are good leaders. (Vets:
The NCOs in my last unit were good
leaders.)

85

36

49

11

3

3

<1

1

There is a lot of teamwork and cooperation in
my unit. (Vets: There was a lot of teamwork and
cooperation in my unit.)

82

32

50

12

6

5

1

1

The officers in my unit are good leaders.
(Vets: The officers in my last unit were good
leaders.)

72

25

47

19

8

6

2

1

 

Both Non-Commissioned Officers
(NCOs) and Commissioned Officers received high marks for
leadership. 
NCOs did fare better in the overall ratings, as more
than four-in-five respondents (85%) agreed that their
NCOs were good leaders.  Among Marine Corps
respondents, agreement reached almost complete unanimity
(95%), while among Army service members that rate
dropped to 82 percent.

 

When asked about their
officers, more than two-in-three (72%) agreed that they
were good leaders.  Navy members were far
less likely to believe that their officers were good
leaders, as just over half (58%) agreed with that
statement. 
Again, Marine Corps respondents gave their officers the
highest vote of confidence among service groups, with
almost all (93%) agreeing their officers were good
leaders.

  

           
Four-in-five survey respondents (82%) agreed with the
statement that there is a lot of teamwork and cooperation
in their unit. 
Four subgroups had higher agreement rates with the
statement – Active Duty Personnel (86%), Officers
(87%), the Air Force (88%) and the Marine Corps
(92%).  All
other subgroups were within the sampling error.

 

 

 

 

 

 

13. Do you agree or disagree with
allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the
military?

 

Strongly Agree

9%

Agree

26%

Agree

17

Neutral

32

Disagree

16

Disagree

37

Strongly Disagree

21

Not sure

5

 

           
Slightly more than one-in-three respondents (37%) disagree
that gays should be allowed to serve openly in the
military, while almost three-in-ten (28%) believe they
should.  Of
those remaining, an almost equivalent amount holds a
neutral opinion (32%), while just 5 percent are
unsure. 

 

           
Along political lines, Democrats and Independents/Moderates
(Independents) are far more likely to agree with the
statement. 
One-in-three Democrats (35%) and Independents (36%) hold
this opinion, while only one-in-five Republicans (22%)
holds the same. 
One-quarter of Democrats (28%) disagreed with the
statement, while Independents (41%) held close to the
overall average, and almost half of Republicans (45%)
expressed their disagreement.

 

           
A further divide was present along racial lines, as Whites
(26%) and Hispanics (26%) held to the average agreement
rate, while more than a third of African-Americans (37%)
agreed.  Only
one-in-five Hispanics (17%) and a quarter of
African-Americans (28%) disagreed with the statement, but
among Whites the rate rose to more than two-in-four
(43%).   

 

           
There also exists a gender divide with women far more
likely than men to express agreement with the idea of gays
and lesbians in the military.  Four-in-nine women (44%)
believe gays and lesbians should be allowed to serve, while
more than a quarter of women (27%)
disagree. 
Among men, the rates are almost reciprocal with a
quarter of men (24%) expressing agreement and
two-in-five (40%) voicing their
disapproval. 

 

           
The only remaining non-military subgroup results to display
significant findings were the disapproval rates among
Baptists (41%), those between the age 35-54 (46%), and
those living in both the Central/Great Lakes (45%) and
Western U.S. (48%).   Among Easterners,
the rates were highly favorable toward the statement with
more than two-in-five (39%) agreeing and less than
one-in-five (15%) disagreeing. 

 

           
Within military subgroups, the highest agreement rates were
found among Veterans (35%) and those having served less
than four years (37%).  The lowest acceptance
rates were among Active Duty Personnel (23%), officers
(23%), those serving between 10 and 14 years (22%) and
those serving more than 20 (19%).  Active Duty Personnel were
also among those with the highest disapproval rates (39%),
as were those serving between 15 and 19 years (40%), those
serving more than 20 (49%), and officers
(47%). 

 

           
Among the service branches, the Army had the lowest
agreement rate – less than a quarter (23%) – as
compared with the Marine Corps (25%), The Air Force (29%)
and the Navy (31%).  The highest disapproval
ratings were found amongst the Air Force (40%) and the Army
(37%), followed closely by the Navy (33%) and the Marine
Corps (32%).

 

 

14. In your unit, are there
people you suspect are gay or lesbian, but don’t know
for sure? (Vets: In your last unit, were there people
you suspected were gay or lesbian, but didn’t know
for sure?)

 

Yes

45%

No

31

Not Sure

25

 

           
Almost half of all service members (45%) stated that they
suspect there are members of their unit who are gay or
lesbian. 
Three-in-ten (31%) said they did not suspect a unit member,
while a quarter of all respondents (25%) said they were
unsure.

 

Females were much more likely
than males to suspect a member of their unit, with
nearly three-in-five females (56%) believing a member of
their unit to be gay or lesbian, while little more than
two-in-five (43%) males held the same belief.

 

Three-in-five Reservists (60%)
and more than half of all Veterans (54%) responded that
they suspected a member of their unit, as opposed to
approximately two-in-five (38%) active duty
personnel. 
Higher than average rates were also found among Enlisted
men (50%), Marines (51%) and Navy Personnel
(59%). 
Roughly two-in-five members of the Air Force (38%) and
the Army (43%) suspected members of their unit, as did
only one-third (33%) of officers. 

 

 

15. (Asked only of those
who suspect gays/lesbians in their unit.) How many
people do you suspect are gay or lesbian? (Vets: How
many people did you suspect were gay or
lesbian?)

 

One

13%

Two

26

Three

29

Four

12

Five

12

Six or More

9

 

Of those who responded that
they suspect a member of their unit is gay or lesbian,
respondents were asked how many individuals they
suspected.   Two-thirds of
respondents (68%) said they suspected three or fewer
individuals in their unit were gay or
lesbian.  A
little more than one-third (39%) suspected two or fewer
unit members.  The remaining third
(32%) suspected that four or more members of their unit
were gay or lesbian.  These numbers held
across all military subgroups. 

 

 

16. Do you know for certain
that someone is gay or lesbian in your unit? (Vets: In
your last unit, did you know for certain that someone was
gay or lesbian?)

 

Yes

23%

No

61

Not sure

17

 

           
Sixty-one percent of respondents surveyed stated that they
were certain that a member of their unit was not gay or
lesbian, as compared to 23 percent who were
certain.  Among
women, nearly three-in-ten (29%) expressed certainty that a
member of their unit was gay or lesbian. Only one-in-five
males (22%) had the same degree of
confidence. 

 

           
When compared among service branches, those in the Navy
were the most likely to be certain regarding the presence
of gays and lesbians in their unit.  Thirty-one percent of Navy
personnel responded as such, while a quarter of Marines
(26%) and those in the Army (25%) had the same level of
certainty. 
Members of the Air Force were the least likely to be
certain of a unit member’s homosexuality, with only
13 percent holding this view.  Enlisted men were more
than twice as likely as officers to know for certain, with
more than a quarter (27%) noting this, as opposed to the 12
percent of officers. 

 

 

(Questions 17-21 were asked
only of those who know for certain that someone in their
unit is gay/lesbian.)

 

17. How many people do you
know for certain are gay or lesbian? (Vets: How many
people did you know for certain were gay or
lesbian?)

 

One

37%

Two

38

Three

14

Four

3

Five

2

Six or More

5

 

           
Three quarters of respondents (75%) who were certain about
the presence of gays or lesbians within their unit knew of
two or less people.  Fourteen percent were
aware of three members, while a further 10 percent knew of
four or more. 
Among males, more than two-in-five (42%) were aware of only
one individual. 
Females, on the other hand, were less likely to know of
just one individual (17%), but much more likely to know of
the presence of four or more (37%).  Only 4 percent of males
were aware of four or more within their
unit. 

 

 

18. How do you know for
certain? (Vets: How did you know for certain?)
(Choose all that apply.)

 

The individual told me

59%

Somebody else
told me about the person

32

I could tell by
the person’s speech, behavior, or
appearance

25

I observed the
person being romantic with someone of the
same sex

24

I observed the
person attending a gay club, bar, parade,
political activity, etc.

8

Other

12

Not sure

3

 

           
A majority of those who know about a unit member being gay
or lesbian (59%) report as to having been made aware by the
individual themselves.  Additionally, a third
(32%) say that they were told by another
person. 
One quarter also report their certainty as being
based either on the person’s behavior (25%)
and/or having observed the person engaged in
homosexually romantic activity (24%). 

 

           
When broken down by gender, women were more likely than men
to have been told by the individual (74 percent to 55
percent).  Men,
on the other hand, were twice as likely than women to have
been told by another individual (36 percent to 17
percent). 
Enlisted men were also twice as likely as officers to have
been told by the individual themselves (63% to 30%).

 

 

19. Is the presence of gays or
lesbians in the unit well-known by others? (Vets: Was
the presence of gays or lesbians in the unit well-known by
others?)

 

Yes

55%

No

25

Not sure

21

 

           
More than half (55%) of those knowing with certainty about
the presence of gays or lesbians within their unit state
that such a presence is well known by
others. 
More than a quarter (25%) claim that the presence is
not well-known.  Between males and
females, males are more likely to agree that the
presence of gays and lesbians within the unit is well
known (56%), while less than half of women (47%)
report the same.  The overall averages
hold constant across all other subgroups. 

 

20. How does the presence of
gays or lesbians in your unit impact your personal
morale? (Vets: How did the presence of gays or lesbians
in your last unit impact your personal
morale?)

21. How does the presence of
gays or lesbians in your unit impact your unit’s
overall morale? (Vets: How did the presence of gays
or lesbians in your last unit impact your unit’s
overall morale?) (All responses skip to
24)

 

Table
2. Impact of Gay/Lesbian Presence on Unit
Morale

 

Personal
morale

Unit’s
morale

Very negative impact

8

8

Somewhat negative
impact

20

19

Negative

28

27

No impact

66

64

Somewhat positive
impact

1

1

Very positive impact

4

2

Positive

6

3

Not sure

1

6

 

           
When those who were certain of the presence of gays or
lesbians within their unit were asked what impact this
presence had on both their personal morale and their
unit’s morale, responses were consistent across the
board.  Roughly
one quarter of all respondents said that the presence of
gays or lesbians had a negative impact on either their
personal morale (28%) or their unit’s morale
(27%).  The
overwhelming majority of respondents stated their belief
that the presence of gays or lesbians had little or no
impact on either.  Less than one out of every
ten respondents noted a positive impact with personal
morale (6%) or their unit’s morale (3%).

 

           
Men were twice as likely as women to view gays and lesbians
within their unit as having a negative impact on personal
morale. 
Three-in-ten men (31%) voiced this opinion, while only
one-in-ten women (14%) did the same.  Eleven percent of women
noted a positive impact created by gays and lesbians, as
compared to 4 percent of men.  Among other subgroups, the
only significant variation was found with Active Duty
Personnel, of whom more than a third (36%) listed a
negative impact on personal morale created by gays and
lesbians within the unit. 

 

           
Opinions regarding the impact on the unit’s morale
were even more consistent.  Here, the only significant
variations were found among women – 10 percent of
whom believe in a positive impact of unit
morale.  This is
starkly contrasted by the 1 percent of men who hold the
same belief. 
Among Active Duty Personnel, negative impact rating is also
higher than average, with one-third (33%) believing it to
have a negative impact. 

 

 

 

(Questions 22-23 were asked
only of those who do not know for certain that someone in
their unit is gay/lesbian.)

 

22. How do you think the
presence of gays or lesbians in your unit would impact your
personal morale?

23. How do you think the
presence of gays or lesbians would impact the overall
morale of your current unit? (Vets: How do you think the
presence of gays or lesbians would impact the overall
morale of your last unit?)

 

Table
3. Assumed Impact of Gay/Lesbian Presence on Unit
Morale

 

Personal
morale

Unit’s
morale

Very negative impact

9

15

Somewhat negative
impact

29

43

Negative

38

58

No impact

49

26

Somewhat positive
impact

1

--

Very positive impact

2

2

Positive

2

2

Not sure

11

14

 

           
Respondents who had previously stated that they were not
certain about the presence of gays or lesbians within their
unit were asked about the hypothetical impact if such a
presence existed.  The result was a higher
negative impact rating than is seen among respondents who
are certain of gays or lesbians in their units.

 

More than one-third (38%) of
these individuals believe there would be a negative
impact on personal morale, and more than half (58%)
believe such presence would have a negative impact on
the unit’s morale.  The percentage of those
voicing the opinion that the presence of gays or
lesbians would have no impact fell significantly from
the percentages of those who are certain of gays or
lesbians in their units, as did the percentage of those
perceiving a positive impact. 

 

           
Across the gender divide, men again saw the presence of
gays and lesbians as having a more negative impact, with
more than two-in-five (42%) holding this opinion regarding
personal morale, and more than three-in-five (62%)
regarding the unit’s morale.  Only one-in-five women
(22%) believed gays and lesbians in their unit would have a
negative impact on their own morale, while twice that
number (45%) believe in a negative impact for the
unit. 

 

           
Older respondents were also more likely to perceive a
negative impact – the highest such rating coming from
those between the ages of 35 to 54, as 46 percent believe
in a negative impact on personal morale and two thirds
(68%) in a negative impact on the unit. 

 

           
For impact on personal morale among military subgroups, the
lowest negative ratings emerged among those having served
less than four years (27%) and between 10 and 14 years
(29%), and those in the Navy (29%).  In contrast the highest
negative ratings emerged from those having served between
15-19 years (43%) or more than 20 years (49%), Officers
(42%), and those in the Marine Corps
(43%). 
All subgroup positive ratings were well within the
sampling error. 

 

           
The negative impact of gays and lesbians regarding unit
morale also presented several significant subgroup
variations. 
Among the service branches, personnel in the Navy (51%) and
Air Force (54%) have the lowest negative opinion, while the
Army (61%) and the Marine Corps (69%) have the
highest. 

 

The data also shows that the
longer one serves in the military, the more likely they
are to believe in a negative impact.  Such ratings were
lowest among those serving less than 4 years (50%) and
highest among those serving either between 15 and 19
years (63%) or more than 20 (68%).  Two-thirds of officers
(66%) also held a negative opinion, compared to 53
percent of enlisted men.  Still, net negative
impact ratings were above 50 percent for every
subgroup. 

 

 

24. Personally, how
comfortable are you in the presence of gays and
lesbians?

 

Very Comfortable

29%

Comfortable

73%

Somewhat Comfortable

44

Somewhat Uncomfortable

15

Uncomfortable

19

Very Uncomfortable

5

Not Sure

8

 

 

 

           
When asked whether they were comfortable in the presence of
gays and lesbians, three-quarters (73%) of those surveyed
said they were either somewhat comfortable (44%) or very
comfortable (29%).  Less than one-in-five
(19%) stated that were uncomfortable, and of that group,
only 4 percent identified themselves as being very
uncomfortable.

 

           
Comfort rates were consistent across both Democrats (73%)
and Republicans (72%), but spiked among Independents
(81%).  Among
Independents, very comfortable rates were the highest of
any subgroup, with more than one third (37%) stating their
high degree of comfort with gays and
lesbians. 
The highest discomfort rate was found amongst
Republicans – nearly a quarter of whom (24%)
held this opinion. 

 

           
Females were also more likely to express comfort among gays
and lesbians, as nearly nine-in-ten (88%) held this
opinion, as compared to seven-in-ten males
(71%).  Males
were three times more likely to be uncomfortable (22%) than
were women (6%).

 

           
Among other subgroups, African-Americans (71%), Catholics
(78%) and those between the ages of 25-34 (75%) displayed
the highest rates of comfort.  Baptists (26%) and those
between the ages of 18 and 24 (24%) presented the highest
discomfort rates. 

 

           
Within military subgroups, Veterans (81%) were more likely
than Active Duty Personnel (70%) to be comfortable in the
presence of gays and lesbians.  Also, more than
four-in-five (85%) of those who have served between 10 and
14 years expressed being comfortable, while two-thirds
(66%) of those having served more than 20 years feel the
same. 

 

           
Additionally, roughly four-in-five members of the Navy
(79%) and Marine Corps (82%) stated that they felt
comfortable around gays and lesbians – the highest
rates among the service branches.  This compared with less
than three quarters of Air Force members (73%) and Army
members (69%). 
Air Force personnel displayed the highest discomfort rate
(23%) of any service branch.

 

 

25. In your current unit, how
often do you take showers privately, such as in a
single-stall shower rather than an open group shower?
(Vets: During the last year of your military service,
how often did you take showers privately, such as in a
single-stall shower rather than an open group
shower)

 

Almost Always Privately

49%

Usually Privately

22

About Half and Half

17

Usually Group Showers

5

Always or Almost Always Group
Showers

3

Not sure

4

 

           
Just less than half of all respondents (49%) stated that
they almost always shower privately.  An additional fifth (23%)
note that they usually shower privately, which aggregates
to nearly three quarters (71%) of service personal surveyed
who at the minimum usually shower
privately. 
A further 17 percent shower privately approximately
half the time, leaving only 8 percent who usually or
almost always shower in groups. 

 

           
Women were more likely than men to shower privately, with
three-fifths (61%) responding that they almost always
shower privately and at least three quarters (78%) who
usually do so. 
Less than half of all men (47%) said they always shower
privately, and more than two-thirds (70%) at least usually
do so. 

 

           
Among the service branches, those in the Navy (88%) and Air
Force (79%) were most likely to at least usually shower
privately. 
Within the Navy, almost two-thirds (64%) noted that they
almost always shower privately – the highest such
rate.  Roughly
three-in-five Army personnel (60%) and Marine Corps members
(63%) report at least usually showering
privately.  Only
37 percent of Army personnel said that they always shower
privately – the lowest such rate.

 

26. Which of the following
were important in your decision to join the military?
(Choose all that apply.)

 

Duty/service to the
country

78%

Benefits (such as retirement,
health care)

62

Funds for college or
vocational school

54

Job skills/experience for a
civilian job

51

Military values/ethics

50

Interesting/meaningful
work

44

Challenges of military life
(such as mental, physical)

39

Salary/cash bonuses

35

Family tradition of military
service

28

Knowing that gays are not
allowed to serve openly

2

Other/None of the above

6

Not sure

1

 

           
Asked to choose which reasons were most important in their
decision to join the military, an overwhelming majority of
respondents (78%) stated that their decision was a product
of a sense of duty and a desire to serve their
country. 
Approximately three-in-five said that their reason for
joining was either for non-wage benefits (62%) or for funds
for college tuition (54%). 

 

Half noted their reasons as
being either for military values (50%), Job skills and
experience (51%) or for interesting and meaningful work
(44%).  Only
2 percent noted that the inability of gays to serve in
the military was a reason behind their decision to
serve.

 

 

27. Would you have still joined the
military if gays and lesbians were allowed to serve
openly?

 

Definitely Yes

42%

Yes

78%

Probably Yes

35

Probably Not

7

No

10

Definitely Not

3

Not Sure

13

 

 

           
Four-out-of-five respondents (78%) report that they would
have joined the military, regardless of whether gays and
lesbians would be allowed to serve.  One-in-ten (10%) would not
have joined if gays and lesbians were allowed to serve
openly.  Thirteen percent of
respondents remain uncertain about their decision to this
hypothetical.

 

           
Eighty-nine percent of female respondents report they would
have joined the military regardless of the presence of gays
and lesbians, as compared to 77 percent of their male
counterparts who hold the same opinion.  All other subgroups’
responses remained within the sampling error, including all
military subgroups. 

Do you agree or disagree with
the following statement?

 

28. Compared with
my peers, I consider myself more tolerant on the issue
of homosexuals in the military. (Vets: Compared with
the peers I served with, I considered myself more
tolerant on the issue of homosexuals in the
military.)

 

Strongly Agree

16%

Agree

52%

Agree

36

Neutral

31

Disagree

8

Disagree

11

Strongly Disagree

3

Not sure

7

 

           
A majority of respondents (52%) believes they are more
tolerant than their peers on the issue of homosexuals in
the military. 
Only one-in-ten (11%) feels they are less tolerant, with
31% claiming neutrality on the issue.

 

           
Several subgroups present significantly higher than average
agreement rates, including Democrats (69%), Independents
(62%), Females (68%), Hispanics (64%) and African-Americans
(55%). 
Conversely, male respondents and Republicans were less
likely to agree that they were more tolerant than their
peers, with 50 percent and 46 percent, respectively,
holding that opinion.

 

           
Within military subgroups, Veterans (62%), those having
served less than 4 years (62%), Marine Corps members (78%)
and Navy personnel (61%) were more likely to agree that
they were more tolerant than their peers.  The lowest rates of
agreement were found among Active Duty Personnel (29%),
those serving between 5 and 9 years (42%), Air Force
Personnel (48%) and Army Personnel (48%).   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

29. What are the strongest
arguments for keeping gays from openly serving in the
military? (Please choose up to three of the most
convincing options below)

 

Table
4. Arguments for Keeping Gays/Lesbians from
Serving

 

%

Open gays and lesbians would
undermine unit cohesion

40

Open gays and lesbians would get
beat up or abused

28

Straights would not respect gay
or lesbian leaders

26

Homosexuality violates religious
/ moral beliefs

25

Straights should not have to
share foxholes, showers, etc. with open gays and
lesbians

22

Open gays and lesbians would be
more likely to pursue one another than they do
now

7

Gays and lesbians would increase
the spread of HIV/AIDS

6

Open gays and lesbians would be
more likely to pursue straights

5

More gays and lesbians would
join or remain in the military

3

Gays and lesbians cannot perform
their military jobs as well as
heterosexuals

<1

Other reason

9

There are no strong arguments
for keeping gays from serving openly

21

Not
sure

14

 

           
When asked to identify which are the strongest reasons for
keeping gays and lesbians from serving openly in the
military, the top two responses were concern for unit
cohesion (40%) and for the individuals themselves
(28%).  The next
tier of responses, each being selected by approximately one
fourth of respondents, pertained to concern over the
violation of moral or religious beliefs (25%), lack of
respect for gay or lesbian leaders (26%), and a concern
over sharing personal space (22%).

 

An almost equivalent number
(21%) stated they believed there were no strong
arguments for keeping gays and lesbians from serving
openly.

 

30. What are the strongest
arguments for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in
the military? (Please choose up to three of the most
convincing options below)

 

Table
5. Arguments for Allowing Gays/Lesbians to
Serve

 

%

Sexual orientation has nothing
to do with job performance

36

It is wrong to discriminate
based on sexual orientation

30

During wartime, the armed forces
need every qualified service member regardless of
sexual orientation

25

Discharging service members for
being gay is a waste of recruiting, education and
training dollars

22

Gays already make valuable
contributions to the military

17

No one should be able to avoid a
service obligation by claiming to be gay

11

No one should be forced to lie
about who they are as a condition of military
service

11

The government should not pry
into people’s private lives

11

Discharging service members for
being gay undermines military readiness

7

Other reason

2

There are no strong arguments
for allowing gays and lesbians to serve
openly

19

Not sure

13

 

           
Given potential arguments for allowing gays and lesbians to
serve in the military, the two most frequently selected
options were that sexual orientation has no impact on job
performance (36%) and the ethical concern for
discriminating based on sexual orientation
(30%). 

 

The next three most selected
options involved the implications for service,
especially during wartime.  Respondents noted that
in a state of war, the military needs access to every
qualified individual (25%), discharging based on sexual
orientation is a waste of resources (22%) and that
individuals gays already make valuable contributions to
the military (17%).  Nearly one-in-five
(19%) of respondents stated that they believe there are
no strong arguments for allowing gays and lesbians to
serve openly in the military. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

31. Have you had training on
the prevention of anti-gay harassment in the past three
years? (Vets: During the last three years of your
military service, did you have any training on the
prevention of anti-gay harassment?)

 

Yes

52%

No

37

Not sure

11

 

           
A majority of those surveyed (52%) report having received
anti-gay harassment training within the past three
years. 
Approximately one-third (37%) say they have not received
such training, while one-in-ten (11%) is not
sure. 

 

           
Within military subgroups, Active Personnel were more
likely than Veterans to have received such training –
56 percent compared to 44 percent.  Also, 64 percent of those
having served 15 to 19 years report having received
training, while less than half of those having served less
than 4 years (47%) or between 5 and 9 years (48%) report
the same. 

 

           
Among the service branches, the Air Force had the highest
percentage of respondents having received training (62%),
while those in the Army (51%), Navy (44%) and Marine Corps
(34%) reported far lower levels of anti-gay harassment
training.