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Military surveys spouses on 'don't ask, don't tell'

By Ed O'Keefe

Eye Opener

The Pentagon wants to know whether spouses would urge their husbands or wives to leave the military if it repeals "don't ask, don't tell," and how they might behave at social functions if an openly gay couple attends.

The Defense Department is asking such questions of about 150,000 military spouses who started receiving copies of the 44-question survey on Friday. (See a copy below.) Spouses have until Sept. 27 to complete it, the Pentagon said.

"Your voice is important and we need you to participate," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates states in a letter accompanying the survey. "The survey is confidential and will enable you to be straightforward and candid in your responses."

The survey asks whether they think a respondent's spouse has ever worked with a service member they believe to be gay and how well they knew the individual.

It also asks whether spouses would like the military to provide them with information if "don't ask, don't tell" is repealed. Options include receiving information about the repeal on military Web sites, through online chats, in-person informational sessions, from military chaplains, counselors or not at all.

Among other questions on the survey:

-- "How important a factor would a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell be to you in making decisions about your spouse's future in the military?"

-- "Would a repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell affect your willingness to recommend military service to a family member or close friend?"

-- "Assume Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed and you live in on-base housing. If a gay or lesbian Service member lived in your neighborhood with their partner, would you stay on-base or would you try to move out?"

-- "Would the attendance of a gay or lesbian Service member with his or her partner affect how often you attend these types of military social events?"

"This survey will help the military leadership assess the impacts, if any, a change in the law commonly known as “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” might have on family readiness and military community life," Defense Department spokeswoman Cynthia Smith said in an e-mail.

The military sent a similar survey to about 400,000 troops in July. About 28 percent of them responded, the military said.

A copy of the survey sent to spouses was provided by OutServe, a group of more than 500 active duty gay and lesbian troops.

"We overwhelmingly believe that spouses our on our side for the repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,'" OutServe co-director Ty Walrod said in an e-mail. "We saw in the previous survey the low participation rate, because military members simply are ready for the repeal of the policy. A new generation of members are leading the U.S. military forces and that generation understands that gay and lesbian military members are no different."

Leave your thoughts in the comments section below

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Pentagon surveys spouses on "don't ask, don't tell"

By Ed O'Keefe  | August 23, 2010; 6:00 AM ET
Categories:  Eye Opener, Military  
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The survey of spouses regarding DADT reads like an anti-gay push poll. What a waste of time and money!

Posted by: DCCharles | August 23, 2010 9:21 AM | Report abuse

Gee, did we miss the survey of spouses on how they would react to "non-traditional" hetero cases, such as inter-racial marriage, adopted children obviously not the same race as the parents, trophy spouses, legally divorced individuals, suspected adulterers, notoriously sexually active, cohabiting persons of the opposite sex, and suspected sexual harassers? What's next, the survey asking a SPOUSE, of all people, their views on the religious makeup of the military? Or left-handedness? This is just silly.

Posted by: ChrisW1958 | August 23, 2010 9:23 AM | Report abuse

Military surveys spouses on 'don't ask, don't tell'

What the ???????????????????

Posted by: therev1 | August 23, 2010 9:29 AM | Report abuse

Ooh, since we're surveying how spouses feel about the 'working environment' of our military soldiers, can we ask them if they'd prefer they don't go places where they would get shot at?

Posted by: rpixley220 | August 23, 2010 9:43 AM | Report abuse

How Robert M Gates allow the military in the Pentagon allow the waste of tax payers money to conduct a survey . We now stoop to ask the wives to run the services? This question" don't ask, don't tell should have been answered a long time ago. Money wasted.

Posted by: tjohnson1225 | August 23, 2010 10:04 AM | Report abuse

Ridiculous. Grow up and join the 21st century.

Posted by: jckdoors | August 23, 2010 11:23 AM | Report abuse

What makes you think it is just wives? There are both men and women in the military, so military spouses are also both men and women.

Posted by: screwjob21 | August 23, 2010 11:27 AM | Report abuse

But once again the population that was not surveyed---what about the spouses of the gays. They should matter too.
Don't you think it is important if they know whether their spouse is going to continue to be harrassed or beaten up just for being gay.
Don't you think the spouse of the gay person should have any say -- but of course they can't be polled because THEY DON"T EXIST by military standards-- so the gay gets screwed again.

And I would think there are better things to poll all military spouses about -- how about STOP LOSS or doing 3 tours of dangerous combat duty in 5 years without a break. What about military housing and the fact that many milatary families require FOOD STAMPS and FOOD pantries to make ends meet.

The least thing on many spouses mind is if their soldier has a gay for a friend or squad member

Posted by: racerdoc | August 23, 2010 12:22 PM | Report abuse

Under federal law gays do not have spouses -- read the Defense Of Marriage Act of 1996. It "defines marriage as a legal union between one man and one woman for purposes of all federal laws".

Your other points are reasonable enough.

Posted by: screwjob21 | August 23, 2010 3:22 PM | Report abuse

This is absolutely ridiculous! The spouses should have found out long before they had gotten married to being with!!! -G.W.Bush

Posted by: newsboy3 | August 23, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse

When I served many, many years ago, I never had a problem with gays being in the military, but I was especially wary of convicts who got a choice of "serving six in the Army or six in prison." Convicts were a same sex rape threat and once in awhile did rape someone in the service. Beleive me, it is really scary sleeping in a barracks with convicts.

And the Army had no problem with convicts, for some reason.

Posted by: RealTexan1 | August 23, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

This article speaks for the nation as a whole when it asks for spouse's opinions. We come from all walks of life and make up a broad spectrum of races, religions and are comprised of both sexes. I agree that it is almost too late to do so, but as military spouses, we are often afforded the right to speak our opinions and get them heard when civilians are not. I say, take the time to speak out, consider it your voting rights, and speak with intelligence on the issue.

My opinion is that this is not a simple issue. Two of our best friends are gay and the struggle they deal with because of their sexual orientation is a daily battle. Alot needs to be in place before DADT can be repealed, from stricter punishments to those 'hazing' other military personnel, to changes (perhaps?) in barracks, to counseling mandates for those with issues regarding this sensitive law and it's repeal.

All I can say is that we, the spouses, as well as our active duty sponsor, need to become informed and open-minded as we embrace the new military, and to be happy we are loosening our restrictions, rather than tightening them. No good can come of that.

Posted by: runner0110 | August 23, 2010 7:17 PM | Report abuse

I think we all know how military spouses felt about integrating women into the armed forces, and what they would have said about racial integration, had the Pentagon pretended to care about their opinions 60 years ago.

Posted by: Itzajob | August 23, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse



You know, had a referendum on banning interracial marriages been put on the ballot down South, up until about 20 years ago, it would have passed. Had civil rights been subject to a vote in those states, it would have also been voted down before about 1980.

matters of civil rights should never be put for a vote. If they were, as Prop 8 was, we might still have Jim Crow laws in the South, seperate drinking fountains and bathrooms, poll taxes, and a ban on inter-racial marriage.

SAME SEXERS ARE CITIZENS THAT ARE MADE TO LIVE LIKE SLAVES(Financially and Socially which is self Evident in front of you )UNDER RELIGIOUS OPPRESSION(9,13,&14 AMENDMENTS Dred Scott Vs San Ford (1857) and "Plessy Vs. Ferguson (1896) US SCt cases)

IT WERE THE ATHEIST/AGNOSTICS GROUPS AND DEIST (a.k.a. Radical Republicans)that press for Abolishment of Slavery, Women Suffrage Acts and Civil Rights to Protect Minorities,

NOT the Religious They Mis-Used The Bible to Support Slavery and Anti-Women Suffrage Acts(Levi.& Deut.BOOKS which shows Women & Slaves thier Place religious Fought Tooth & Eye to OT Biblically Oppress others)Religion has US Citizens involved in Slave Trade AGAIN!


Originally, the Framers were very careful about avoiding the words "slave" and "slavery" in the text of the Constitution. Instead, they used phrases like "importation of Persons" at Article 1, Section 9 for the slave trade, "other persons" at Article 1, Section 2, and "person held to service or labor"

at Article 4, Section 2 for slaves. Not until the 13th Amendment was slavery mentioned specifically in the Constitution. There the term was used to ensure that there was to be no ambiguity as what exactly the words were eliminating. In the 14th Amendment, the euphemism "other persons" (and the three-fifths value given a slave) was eliminated. The Slavery Topic Page has a lot more detail.

What if we had a ALEX JONES XTIAN referendum in Mass BY PUBLIC VOTE TO OUTLAW & Eliminate FREEMASONRY ,NWO, BOHEMIAN GROVE, UNIV/COLLEGE FRAT-SOROR etc and the Republican Party. Would you support the call for a vote? Or would you suddenly "discover" the protection of civil liberties in a Constitutional form of government? DOES THE BILL OF RIGHTS/ CIVIL RIGHTS PROTECT THEM ALSO, OR AS IN THE MORGAN AFFAIR,BE DRIVEN OUT OF EXISTANCE FOR THIER BELIEFS, NOT ALL AGREE WITH THEM YOU KNOW, AND SOME SPEAK VIOLANCE TOWARDS THEM,TO HARM THEM

Posted by: shaiarra | August 23, 2010 7:35 PM | Report abuse

See the imperatives that would drive wives of conscience to encourage their husbands of conscience to leave the Armed Forces should homosexuals be allowed to serve openly at:]

Posted by: MAJUSMCRET | August 24, 2010 6:04 AM | Report abuse

Ridiculous! Gates isn't pushed out the door fast enough. That pot belly worthless Bush left-over should have NEVER been in charge of a squad, let alone a military department. He had too many ties to the secret elite. Demand Obama FIRE this crony left-over dud! We need, no we REQUIRE real leadership at the Pentagon...

Vote out any Congress person that is career and supports illegal wars and an offense Pentagon!

Posted by: darbyohara | August 24, 2010 6:10 AM | Report abuse

As a 55 year old gay man living in a very accepting community I'm stunned by the questions in the survey. It literally made my stomach sick. To suggest somebody would move off the base or avoid a social event because a gay or lesbian couple would be present! That's me, my partner and friends they are talking about, and we have done nothing wrong. And the military wants my support?

Posted by: seepdx | August 24, 2010 2:24 PM | Report abuse

I'm sure that President Truman and his associates did not conduct a survey of members and spouses in the military when he fully integrated Blacks into the military in the late 1940s. It is outrageous to be conducting these surveys. The U.S. should do what is right, not what may or may not be popular at the moment. I speak as a highly decorated combat veteran.

Posted by: Dickfs2 | August 27, 2010 2:03 PM | Report abuse

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