Survey counters backing of gays in military

By Rowan Scarborough-The Washington Times

A group opposed to ending the ban on openly gay troops in the military has released a national survey that challenges earlier independent polls asserting that a wide percentage of Americans favor repealing the ban.

The Military Culture Coalition hopes the survey by a Republican pollster will help persuade moderate to conservative Democrats to oppose President Obama‘s campaign promise to lift the ban as final votes in Congress loom.

The question is, is the poll too late? The House as well as the Senate Armed Services Committee have passed repeal legislation. That leaves the full Senate vote, a HouseSenate conference bill, and then Mr. Obama‘s signature to end the 1993 law that states that open homosexuality is a threat to combat readiness.

The policy under which open gays can be expelled is known as “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

Sen. John McCain of Arizona, the Armed Services Committee‘s top Republican, who favors keeping the law, blocked the 2011 defense budget bill — which included a provision repealing the ban — during a lively floor debate with committee Chairman Carl Levin, Michigan Democrat. Mr. McCain‘s maneuver means that, under Senate rules, Mr. Levin will need to garner 60 votes just to begin debate when the congressional summer recess ends next month.

“There will not be unanimous consent to bring it to the floor. They’ve already tried, and it will require cloture to proceed in its current form,” said Don Stewart, a spokesman for Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

A May Gallup poll found that 70 percent of Americans “continue to favor allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military.”

The Military Culture Coalition, which includes such socially conservative groups as the Family Research Council and the Center for Military Readiness, took a different approach.

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