Pentagon Survey Shows Support For Gays
Report will play crucial role in possible repeal of ban on gay service members.
A new Pentagon report shows that gays can serve in the military without disrupting battle readiness.
Defense Secretary Robert Gates quickly asked Congress to repeal the Clinton-era ban known as "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".
He says if Congress doesn't repeal the ban the courts may, with disastrous effect.
"Now that we have completed this review, we strongly urge the senate to pass the legislation and send it the president before the end of the year," Gates said.
With weeks remaining in the lame-duck Congress, Democrats want to act before losing their majority.
"We have to recognize we have the facts now this is a good policy to overturn Don't Ask, Don't Tell," said New York Representative Anthony Weiner.
House Republicans want time, but Secretary Gates warns if Congress doesn't act the court may overturn the ban like it almost did in the fall.
"My greatest fear is what almost happened in October, that's being told to implement the policy overnight," Secretary Gates said.
The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says he's ready to move.
"This is a policy change we can make," said Admiral Mike Mullen. "We can do this in a relatively low-risk fashion."
70-percent of the military members surveyed said a repeal will have mixed, positive or no effects.
Supporters of gay servicemen and women say the survey shows the 21st century military is ready for change.
"What will be interesting to watch moving forward, is how opponents of this policy change are going to try use small pockets of negative data to spin them out and try to make the argument that the military is in fact not ready to make this change," says Servicemembers United's Alex Nicholson.
The biggest objections came from Marine combat units, where two-thirds are against a repeal.