Kudos to Elaine Donnelly and the Center for Military Readiness for uncovering the latest media “spin” scam — this one involving a Zogby poll whose results were distorted to promote a repeal of the law banning homosexuals in the U.S. armed forces. Turns out in another poll that only 30 percent of active servicemen polled favored — and 59 percent opposed — the idea of letting open homosexuals to serve in the military. — Peter LaBarbera
Manufactured “Momentum” for Meehan Bill
In 1993 Rep. Marty Meehan (D-MA) failed in his attempt to help President Bill Clinton lift the military’s ban on homosexuals in the military. An amendment to strike Senate-passed legislation to codify pre-Clinton Defense Department regulations banning gays from the military, which Meehan sponsored together with liberal Congresswoman Patricia Schroeder (D-CO), was defeated overwhelmingly on a 264-169 bi-partisan vote. (Sept. 28, 1993)
Now Meehan is back with similar legislation to repeal the 1993 homosexual conduct law, a statute that has been upheld as constitutional several times. This time Meehan and his supporters are claiming that the military is on their side, pointing to a poll by Zogby International, released in December 2006.
Using classic P.R. strategy, the Zogby news release highlighted the meaningless “comfort” question, “Are you comfortable interacting with gay people?” Of those responding, 73% said they were. But this is an innocuous question, about as relevant to the controversy as an inquiry about daytime talk shows: “Would you rather watch Ellen DeGeneres’ show or Rosie O’Donnell on The View?”
On that question, 26% of respondents agreed, but 37% disagreed. The poll also found that 32% of respondents were “Neutral,” and only 5% said they were “Not sure.”
The 26% of respondents who want the law repealed cannot compete with the combined 69% of people who are opposed or neutral on repeal. This is hardly a mandate for radical change.
Military Knows Best
Polling organizations recognize that respondents who believe a policy is already in place are more likely to favor that policy, while those who know otherwise are less likely. Constant but incorrect assertions that “homosexuals can serve in the military provided that they do not say they are gay” are probably skewing polls of civilians, who mistakenly believe that homosexuals are eligible to serve. People in the military, however, are more likely to understand what the homosexual exclusion law actually says. [See text HERE]
A closer look at the Zogby poll reveals more interesting details that should have been recognized in news reports:
Support the Law – Scrap “Don’t’ Ask, Don’t Tell”
Ideologues who want to repeal the homosexual conduct law are determined to impose the gay agenda on the military. This would include the full range of benefits and “sensitivity training” programs to promote acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle and conduct. (Washington Times, Feb. 10, 1993)
President George W. Bush is obligated by the U.S. Constitution to enforce all laws, but he is not required to retain administrative regulations written by his predecessor, Bill Clinton. This includes policy regulations known by the catch phrase “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which were found by the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals to be inconsistent with the law in 1996. [See related article here]
Problematic inconsistencies between Clinton’s enforcement regulations and the 1993 homosexual conduct law have contributed to years of confusion, and an advantage for activists who want to repeal both. To ensure that the intent of Congress in passing the law is respected, understood, and followed, the Secretary of Defense should:
In doing these things the President and Secretary of Defense should not apologize or be intimidated by civil rights analogies and pejorative accusations. The law deserves support because it respects the human desire for modesty and privacy in sexual matters, to the greatest extent possible, in the interest of encouraging good order and discipline.
As columnist Thomas Sowell wrote in 1993, “Military morale is an intangible, but it is one of those intangibles without which the tangibles do not work.”
For the sake of civilian institutions as well as the military, homosexual activists should not be allowed to impose their agenda on the armed forces. All Americans can serve our country in some way, but not everyone is eligible to serve in the military.
1. Report of the Presidential Commission on the Assignment of Women in the Armed Forces, Commissioner Generated Finding 14, p. C-135, referencing civilian and military surveys done by the Roper Organization, Inc., for the Commission, September 1992.
2. David E. Smith, Illinois Family Institute, Nov. 8, 2006.
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