By Michael Sheridan
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Gay, straight, the majority of soldiers don't seem to care, according to results of a Pentagon study expected to be released Tuesday.
The military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy to restrict homosexuals from serving openly appears to be taking one more hit, as an official 10-month study shows that 70% of those surveyed believe lifting the ban would have little to no effect on their ability to fight. [Read more news about national security, terrorism, and the military.]
In fact, some actually believe it may be positive for troops, according to The Associated Press.
The study is based upon answers provided by nearly 115,000 troops, along with 44,200 military spouses. The study group also visited various military bases and held town hall-style meetings with service members.
These results appear to echo those found in a Pew Research Center survey last month, which indicated 58% of Americans favored allowing gays to serve openly in the military.
"It's what we expected. The atmosphere in the active-duty has changed," said a gay Air Force officer and co-founder of the advocacy group OutServe. The officer uses the pseudonym "JD Smith" to protect his identity.
However, these changing attitudes have not given some Republicans pause when speaking out about repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
On Sunday, Sen. John McCain continued his campaign to preserve the ban against homosexuals, calling efforts to repeal it little more than a politically motivated ploy.
"This was a political promise made by an inexperienced president or candidate for presidency," McCain said on CNN's "State of the Union."
Efforts are underway to get the lame-duck Congress to debate the issue and vote before the end of the year.
"The stakes for repeal happening this year couldn't be higher," said Aubrey Sarvis, Army veteran and executive director for Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, an organization dedicated to ending "Don't Ask, Don't Tell."
"It is critical that repeal advocates [urge] their senators to act in December to pass legislation repealing 'Don't Ask' before Congress goes home for the year," he argued.
To further that effort, the group has gained celebrity support, including singer Lady Gaga. The attention-getting performer posted a video via YouTube on Monday to encourage Americans to get the word out to politicians in Washington that a vote on the issue must happen now.
"We have to end this law because it reinforces discrimination and it's setting a bad example," she said in the two-minute, black-and-white video. [Take the poll: Is Lady Gaga hurting the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" fight?]
"Senators, you have been put on notice, by me, and by the people of this country," Lady Gaga said. "You said you would debate, and address this law when the Pentagon returned with a strategy. And [Tuesday], you will have it. So will you keep your word? Please keep your word."