A copy of the Pentagon survey gauging the impact of repealing the Don't Ask, Don't Tell ban on gay soldiers serving openly in the military has been leaked to the Palm Center research institute. You can read it here.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates strongly urged gays and lesbians to participate in the survey in a press conference Thursday and assured them their identities would remain private. His remarks came after the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay advocacy group, warned that gay solders could be inadvertently outed and discharged from the military by filling out the questionnaire. So long as the Don't Ask policy remains in place, the group stressed, any soldier telling the army that he or she is gay might be vulnerable to discharge.
Still, the questions on the survey are noteworthy for not assuming that the military's gay ban will be repealed. One question reads: "If Don't Ask, Don't Tell is repealed and you had on-base housing and a gay or lesbian service member was living with a same-sex partner on-base, what would you most likely do?"
In Thursday's press conference, responding to the question of how the survey's results might affect the prospects for repealing DADT, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said the law "really needs to be changed." The House of Representatives has passed a bill to end the policy pending the military's internal review. The Senate has yet to approve the repeal.
The Pentagon told Washington Post reporter Ed O'Keefe that the leaked version of the survey was incomplete, but that it doesn't intend to make the full survey available to the press.
Here are a few more questions on the survey:
• Have you been assigned to share bath facilities with an open bay shower that is also used by a Service member you believed to be homosexual?
• If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and you are working with a Service member in your immediate unit who has said he or she is gay or lesbian, how, if at all, would your level of morale be affected?
• If Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell is repealed and a gay or lesbian Service member attended a military social function with a same-sex partner, which are you most likely to do?