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Poll: Majority of Americans support gays in military

WASHINGTON - Three-quarters of Americans say they support openly gay people serving in the U.S. military, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll. The finding could lend momentum to the Obama administration's effort to dismantle the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell."

The level of public support for allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly far outpaces that in the spring of 1993, when Congress and the Clinton administration established the policy.

Civilian and military officials held their first meetings this week to begin a yearlong review of "don't ask, don't tell," which forbids commanders to ask about service members' sexuality and requires the discharge of openly gay men and women.

President Barack Obama called for the policy's repeal last month in his State of the Union address, and the military's top civilian and military leadership also has expressed personal support for a repeal.

Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates last week appointed Gen. Carter Ham, commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, and Jeh Johnson, Defense Department general counsel, to lead a team to study a possible repeal.

The percentage of Americans who say they support gays openly serving is the same as a Post-ABC News poll found in July 2008; both are far above the 44 percent who said so in May 1993.

The poll was conducted by telephone Feb. 4-8 among a random national sample of 1,004 adults. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

- The Washington Post

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