Dec. 2, 2010
There are numerous arguments pro and con on the issue of homosexuality in the military, but the survey of Service members released by the Pentagon on Tuesday has decisively proved at least one argument against the current push to overturn existing law, and decisively refuted at least one argument in favor of that effort.
The Comprehensive Review Working Group report actually identified these arguments in their summary of What We Heard about the issue. One argument against repeal was described as: Why now? We are at war. Many have argued that with our armed forces stretched by the demands of two wars, this is not the time to impose further strain by implementing a radical change in personnel policy to appease a political interest group. (FRC does not believe there would ever be a good time for such a changebut the immediate circumstances are nevertheless a legitimate concern for lawmakers facing an immediate legislative vote).
It has been widely reported that soldiers and Marines in combat arms units were more likely to predict negative impacts from repeal of current law than were other Service members. While 62% of all Service members expected at least some negative results if current law were overturned, the same was true of 74% of all Marines and of Army combat arms soldiers, and 82% of Marines in combat arms units. An outright majority of the latter group, 57.5%, declared bluntly that it would affect their task cohesion either negatively or very negatively, while a minuscule 9% foresaw a positive impact.
The people on the front lines of our wars are the most concerned about repeala compelling argument against it.
On the other hand, the CRWG described the advocates of repeal as arguing, We need everyone willing and able to serve. In other words, the military simply cannot afford to lose the skills of existing or potential homosexual Service members. This is an issue of recruiting and retentionwhat policy will provide the military with the personnel that it needs.
Here again, the results are overwhelming. The surveys showed that the number who would be less willing to recommend a military career if open homosexuality is permitted is four times higher than the number who would be more willing to recommend it. In addition, the percentage who would themselves leave the military sooner than planned or consider doing so if current law is repealed, was more than six times higher than the number who would stay longer or consider doing so.
Its clearthe personnel losses to the military as a result of repeal would vastly outnumber any gains from allowing homosexuals in the ranks.
These are two strong points against the effort to overturn current law, even in a report designed to support that effort.