Pentagon Survey: Troops OK with Gays in Military

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Byline: Anne Flaherty Associated Press

WASHINGTON When a majority of troops told the Pentagon this summer they didnt care if gays were allowed to serve openly in the military, it was in sharp contrast to the time when Americas fighting forces voiced bitter opposition to accepting racial minorities and women in the services.

The survey, due out Tuesday, is expected to find pockets of resistance among combat troops to ending the ban on gays.

But some 70 percent of respondents were expected to say that lifting the ban would have a positive or mixed effect, or none at all, according to officials familiar with the findings.

The study is expected to set the stage for a showdown in the Senate between advocates of repealing the 17-year-old "dont ask, dont tell" law and a small but powerful group of foes in the final days of the lame-duck Congress.

Repeal would mean that, for the first time in U.S. history, gays would be openly accepted by the military and could acknowledge their sexual orientation without fear of being kicked out.

U.S. troops havent always been so accepting.

Troop surveys conducted throughout the 1940s on blacks and Jews, and in the 1970s and 1980s on women, exposed deep rifts within a military that was dominated by white males but becoming increasingly reliant on minorities to help do its job.

By the time President Bill Clinton proposed allowing gays to serve in the military in 1993, gays had been explicitly barred from military service since World War I. …