Eye Opener: Estimate: 66,000 gays in the military
Happy Tuesday! An estimated 66,000 gay, lesbian and bisexual people are serving in the U.S. military, roughly 2 percent of all military personnel, according to a report released Tuesday by a gay rights policy center. The figures suggest a slight increase in the number of gays, lesbians and bisexuals in the military, and they provide opponents of the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy with fresh data as they lobby the Obama administration for its repeal.
Gays, lesbians and bisexuals account for approximately 13,000 active duty service members, equal to less than 1 percent currently deployed, the report estimated. About 53,000 others serve in the National Guard and reserves, equaling about 3.4 percent.
The actual number of gays, lesbians and bisexuals serving in uniform is unknown; the military does not track such figures. The research brief was released by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, a public policy institute that studies sexual orientation law.
Its authors used a variety of statistical methods to arrive at the estimate, drawing in part on the Census Bureau’s 2008 American Community Survey and the 2000 Census, in which some people identified themselves as gay, lesbian or bisexual and as serving in the military. A similar 2004 study, widely quoted by gay rights advocates and supportive lawmakers, estimated that roughly 65,000 homosexuals were serving in the military.
Though President Obama’s top domestic policy aides insist that the president is committed to an equality agenda for gays and lesbians, many liberal and gay rights groups are unhappy that the administration has thus far failed to act on Obama’s campaign pledge to end “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
White House press secretary Robert Gibbs said Tuesday that the issue has been “a point of discussion” among top White House aides. Gibbs declined to say whether Obama will mention his support for a repeal in his State of the Union address Wednesday.
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• Cabinet and Staff News: Enjoy the State of the Union tonight with a drinking game. President Obama says he expects Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner and top economic adviser Larry Summers will stay on. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton will skip the State of the Union address. Politico pitches softball questions to Valerie Jarrett. More than half of the Senate now backs Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke. The son of the acting U.S. attorney in Louisiana tried to bug the office of Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.). Assistant Attorney General Thomas Perez speaks about his priorities. A leading Democratic senator doesn't rule out new hearings for Office of Legal Counsel nominee Dawn Johnsen. What Ambassador Karl Eikenberry's leaked memos say about Obama's Afghan war strategy. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor says last week's court decision on campaign finance will ignite an "arms race" in judicial elections.
• Commerce Dept. slow to notify employees of security breach: Why did it take the department so long to notify employees that their personal information, including Social Security numbers, had been let loose on the Internet?
• Michelle Obama proposing support for military families: The largest sum, $1.9 billion, would be spent on counseling and other support services. An additional $1.3 billion would go for military child care.
FEDERAL HOUSING ADMINISTRATION:
• FHA cracks down on lenders: The agency has pulled the licenses of three lenders and will suspend a fourth.
• Lawsuits increase despite White House transparency pledge, court records show: More than 300 people and groups have sued the Obama administration fighting to get federal government records in the year since President Obama pledged his administration would be the most open in history.
DEPARTMENT OF HOMELAND SECURITY:
• Report: U.S. still unprepared for major biological terrorist attack: The report gave the government mixed grades overall for how it has protected Americans from weapons of mass destruction.
• Interior aims to improve workforce diversity: The department will change plans and performance appraisals after an employee group raised concerns in a report about the department's hiring and treatment of African-American workers.
INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE:
• IRS to require corporations to provide road map for audits: The disclosures would provide a road map for the agency as it scrutinizes companies' returns.
• Justice Dept. ends probe of Rep. Mollohan: The U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia had been overseeing the investigation, amid accusations the senior member of the House Appropriations Committee steered roughly $250 million in line-item expenditures to several nonprofit organizations run by close friends and real estate partners.
• Mars rover Spirit begins new mission as stationary outpost: In this video, agency officials update the status of the rover during a Tuesday teleconference.
NATIONAL TRANSPORTATION SAFETY BOARD:
• NTSB launches investigation into deadly Metro accident: The agency's decision is an indication of the seriousness of the accident, since it does not always take the lead role in probing rail fatalities.
• International affairs budget exempt from Obama spending "freeze": This includes spending on global economic, diplomatic and humanitarian programs by the department, USAID, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation, among others.
• Okla. man pleads guilty in USAID Afghanistan private security kickback scheme: Ryan Scott McMonigle, 38, of Ponca City, Okla., admitted to one count of aiding and abetting the solicitation of a kickback.
| January 27, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories: Eye Opener, Workplace Issues
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