Saturday, July 18, 2009

By the numbers

I was tempted to bring you some graphs and pie charts, but settled instead to just mention some numbers. First of all, the public now gives two-to-one support for allowing gays in the military - a margin of 60 percent to 32 percent. This represents significantly broader support for this inclusive policy than in 1994, when 52 percent favored allowing gays to serve openly and 45 percent were opposed.

I can break that down a bit. Support has grown in most segments of society, particularly among young people (those under age 30) who are in favor of an open policy by three-to-one (72 percent to 23 percent). But the balance of opinion has shifted in favor of allowing open service across all age groups. We are learning. We are becoming more fair.

Do you know where the biggest growth has come from? The South! In 1994 the South was the only region in which a majority of residents (55 percent) opposed allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly. Today, just 35 percent in the South take this position, while 58 percent support open service. Big difference, huh?

Politically there are differences. Republicans are divided with 46 percent favoring allowing gays to serve openly and 46 percent are opposed. A majority of conservative Republicans oppose such a policy, while moderate and liberal Republicans favor it by a wide margin (62 percent-29 percent). Democrats of all ideological groups tend to favor allowing gays in the military, though liberal Democrats are nearly universal in their support (85 percent-9 percent). Independents also favor the policy by a 66 percent-to-30 percent margin.

So the bottom line here is that a majority of Americans favor an end to Don't Ask/Don't Tell. So, why don't we do it? Why don't we end it now and bring fairness to all?

Okay and speaking of numbers, 77 Members of Congress have joined with Knights Out in Calling on President Obama to Sign an Executive Order Suspending DADT. See if your congressperson's name is on this list. If it is, call them and thank them. If it isn't, call them and ask why not? The signers are:

Alcee L. Hastings
Barney Frank
John Conyers, Jr.
Fortney “Pete” Stark
Edward J. Markey
Gary Ackerman
Louise Slaughter
Eliot Engel
Jim McDermott
Ileana Ros-Lehtinen
José Serrano
James Moran
Jerrold Nadler
Eleanor Holmes Norton
Ed Pastor
James Clyburn
Anna Eshoo
Bob Filner
Luis Gutierrez
Eddie Bernice Johnson
Carolyn Maloney
Robert “Bobby” Scott
Bennie Thompson
Nydia Velázquez
Melvin Watt
Lynn Woolsey
Lloyd Doggett
Chaka Fattah
Jane Harman
Lois Capps
Donna M. Christensen
Diana DeGette
Bill Delahunt
Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick
Dennis Kucinich
Barbara Lee
James McGovern
Brad Sherman
Robert Wexler
Tammy Baldwin
Shelley Berkley
Michael Capuano
Joseph Crowley
Rush Holt
John Larson
Grace Napolitano
Jan Schakowsky
Anthony Weiner
David Wu
William Lacy Clay
Mike Honda
James Langevin
Betty McCollum
Diane Watson
Tim Bishop
Raúl Grijalva
Linda Sánchez
Emanuel Cleaver
Doris Matsui
Gwen Moore
Debbie Wasserman Schulz
André Carson
Kathy Castor
Yvette Clarke
Donna F. Edwards
Keith Ellison
Marcia L. Fudge
Phil Hare
Mazie K. Hirono
Laura Richardson
Joe Sestak
Niki Tsongas
Peter Welch
Alan Grayson
Jared Polis
Mike Quigley
Gregorio Sablan

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