File this one under “Duh” —
In the fierce debate that led up to President Barack Obama’s repeal last September of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, the 1993 law that banned gay and lesbian service members from serving openly in the military, supporters of the law warned that a repeal would have disastrous consequences for the armed forces. One letter, signed by more than 1,000 military officers, claimed that a repeal would undermine recruiting efforts, negatively affect “troop readiness” and “eventually break the All-Volunteer Force.”One year later, the first academic study of the military’s new open-service policy has found there have been no negative consequences whatsoever.
The study, published Monday by the Palm Center, a research branch of the Williams Institute at University of California Los Angeles Law School, found that there has been no overall negative impact on military readiness, unit cohesion, recruitment, retention or morale.
The authors of the study, who included professors at U.S. Military Academy, U.S. Naval Academy, U.S. Air Force Academy and U.S. Marine Corps War College, arrived at this conclusion after soliciting the views of 553 generals and admirals who predicted that repeal would undermine the military, as well as with expert opponents of DADT repeal, a number of watchdog organizations and more than 60 active-duty heterosexual, lesbian, gay and bisexual troops from every service branch.
They also observed several military units and administered several surveys, analyzed relevant media articles published during the research period and conducted secondary source analysis of surveys independently administered by outside groups.
Sounds like a pretty exhaustive study to me. And according to one of its lead authors, the findings are unmistakable:
“For almost twenty years, experts predicted that allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly would harm the military,” said Aaron Belkin, the founding director of the Palm Center and lead author of the study. “Now the evidence is in, and the conclusion is clear: repealing ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ did not harm the military, and if anything made it easier for the Pentagon to pursue its mission.”
The authors described their effort to collect data from opponents of DADT repeal as “vigorous” and predicted that it would “sustain confidence in the validity and impartiality of our findings.”
All kidding aside, this study is important because it provides hard data to refute the noxious anti-LGBT bigotry and fear-mongering about gays and lesbians in the military from McCain, Bryan Fischer, Rick Santorum, and the like. It’s funny how those pesky facts always seem to undermine our opponents’ propaganda and reveal them to be motivated not by the truth, but rather, solely by animus, isn’t it?