Pentagon report says ban on out gay soldiers can be lifted safely

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A Pentagon report says that the ban on out gay troops in the US military can be lifted safely without too much disruption.

The report, released today, said that the ban could even be lifted now, in wartime, without harming troops or the military’s ability to do its job.

Most troops – around 70 per cent – surveyed for the report said they would not mind serving alongside out gay colleagues.

A minority said that they did object to lifting the ban but the report’s authors said that this would not be an insurmountable barrier to repeal.

Authors Jeh C Johnson, the Pentagon’s chief counsel, and Gen Carter F Ham, the commander of the US Army in Europe, said that effective leadership would be enough to tackle “some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention”.

They wrote: “We are both convinced that our military can do this, even during this time of war.

“We do not underestimate the challenges in implementing a change in the law, but neither should we underestimate the ability of our extraordinarily dedicated service men and women to adapt to such change and continue to provide our nation with the military capability to accomplish any mission.”

Earlier this year, the suggestion of separate bathing and sleeping quarters for gay soldiers was raised. However, the report made no mention of separate sleeping quarters and described segregated bathrooms as “a logistical nightmare, expensive and impossible to administer”.

Releasing the report at the Pentagon today, defence secretary Robert Gates said: “The findings suggest that for large segments of the military, repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’… would not be the traumatic change that many had feared and predicted.”

The report will add new momentum to efforts to repeal the 1993 in Congress in the lame duck session.

Senate majority leader Harry Reid hopes to have a vote on the Defence Authorisation Bill in the next few weeks, which has a repeal measure attached to it.