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Eye Opener: Estimate: 66,000 gays in the military

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

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.

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

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 DEPARTMENT:
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?

DEFENSE DEPARTMENT:
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.

GOVERNMENT WORK/LIFE/OPERATIONS:
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 DEPARTMENT:
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 DEPARTMENT:
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.

NASA:
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.

STATE DEPARTMENT:
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.

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By Ed O'Keefe  | January 27, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Workplace Issues  
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Comments

If gays, lesbians and other transgender people want to serve in the military, so what? I don't agree with their lifestyle, but am I forced to? No.
If I'm in a war situation, and someone saves me from being shot by an enemy, am I going to ask them their sexual preference before I let them help me, refuse to let them help me because of their preference? NO!!

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Posted by: wyiutetewryjuykilg | January 27, 2010 8:05 AM | Report abuse

Two erroneous assumptions ~ (1) that gays flock to a professional military force in nearly four times the numbers they flock to anything else other than a gay bar, and (2) that the military personnel "don't notice them".

Hey, boys and girls, you get noticed in office environments, in neighborhoods, and most everywhere else ~ we all know you can't help advertising.

And for the most part you avoid military duty since it cramps your style.

End of story.

Now, back to the estimates ~ maybe 2,000 GBLT folks on active duty ~ tops ~ probably far less.

Posted by: muawiyah | January 27, 2010 8:50 AM | Report abuse

Homosexuality is a filthy, disease-ridden practice explicitly condemned by God.

Posted by: tjhall1 | January 27, 2010 8:57 AM | Report abuse

tjhall1, so is bigotry, but you religious types seem to excel at that.

Posted by: reiflame1 | January 27, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

tjhall1 - so are Republicans.

Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | January 27, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

tjhall1 is gay

Posted by: johng1 | January 27, 2010 9:45 AM | Report abuse

tjhall1 - your disdain and hatred of your fellow man is a horrible practice condemned by God in way more than one "bible" quote.

muawiyah - You have no idea what you are talking about. First off, you have no idea what your average GLBT person is like, aside from your skewed view of a vocal minority of GLBT folks. Second, both from professional studies and personal experience, I can tell you there are far more GLBT members in the active-duty military.

Posted by: salf | January 27, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

I met more gay military personnel, in my four years of service, than I have met on the civilian side since leaving 20 years ago.

Posted by: ginabw | January 27, 2010 10:09 AM | Report abuse

muawiyah: Talk about erroneous assumptions!!! Why do you think that people who are gay would be less likely to sign up for military service than the general population? Are they less patriotic than the rest of the country? Than you? Certainly a bias/bigoted attitude on your part. Also, according to your numbers .0006% of the military are gay. At most. Right. Denial is not just a river in Africa.

Posted by: cbivitz | January 27, 2010 10:21 AM | Report abuse

Obama has already spoken eloquently against DADT. so,more words tonight won't cut it. Action will.

Posted by: hugmekatie | January 27, 2010 10:42 AM | Report abuse

The Marines say "never leave your buddy's behind."

Where do I sign up????

Posted by: pgr88 | January 27, 2010 10:44 AM | Report abuse

As long as non-heterosexuals in the military do not act out their sexuality they may serve honorably. Otherwise, for the cohesion and health of the U.S. military, they must leave or be court-martialed.

Posted by: DoTheRightThing | January 27, 2010 10:55 AM | Report abuse

The Israelis have allowed gays to serve openly for quite some time. With no problems. And they are one of the toughest fighting forces ever.

Are we really saying our own troops are somehow less disciplined than the Israelis, that they will somehow wilt like delicate flowers at the sight of an openly gay soldier?

If so, we got bigger problems than gays in the military.

Posted by: Hillman1 | January 27, 2010 11:10 AM | Report abuse

And so, when this survey was in the making, tell us what questions were asked of the military members. This is the most insane article I have read in a long time.

Posted by: pkbishop1 | January 27, 2010 11:18 AM | Report abuse

OMG - the conservatives are going to get their shorts all twisted over this one.

Posted by: adrienne_najjar | January 27, 2010 11:35 AM | Report abuse

Wow, this is truly an eye opener but hey, who cares. I mean really, let THEM live THEIR lives.

Jess
www.online-privacy.int.tc

Posted by: clermontpc | January 28, 2010 11:53 AM | Report abuse

DoTheRightThing writes, "As long as non-heterosexuals in the military do not act out their sexuality they may serve honorably."

That simply isn't true. The lives of gays and lesbians--and others--have been ruined time and again by this witch hunt, and all it takes is for someone to find out that someone is gay, or for someone to want to exact some sort of revenge. The target of the investigation doesn't have to be in a same-gender sexual relationship with anyone.

As for 'unit cohesion' would you have us believe that our soldiers, some of whom are the toughest guys around, can't handle working alongside a gay or lesbian? Are they that weak? I don't think so.

Posted by: beargulch | January 29, 2010 6:12 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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