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Religious Groups Support Repealing Gay Military Ban

WASHINGTON (RNS) As the Pentagon readies a long-awaited survey of military personnel on lifting the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell policy, a new poll suggests broad support across religious groups for allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly.
The Pentagon report, expected to be released Tuesday (Nov. 30), will include a survey of some 400,000 military personnel, and will be key for the Obama administration, which is hoping to push a repeal of Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell through Congress before the end of the year.

Only 27 percent of Americans oppose lifting the ban, according to a poll released Monday (Nov. 29) by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.

Almost every religious group surveyed supports lifting the ban, according to the Pew poll. Only white evangelicals (48 percent) came close to having a majority opposed to open gays and lesbians serving in the military. White mainline Protestants (62 percent), black Protestants (52 percent) and Catholics (66 percent) all favor allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly.

And while 40 percent of weekly churchgoers favor maintaining the ban, an equal percentage favors lifting it. The Pew survey is based on telephone interviews conducted November 4-7, among a national sample of 1,255 adults 18 years of age or older. The margin of error for the survey overall is 3.5 percentage points.