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More Americans say 'don't ask, don't tell' for gays should be repealed

Repealing the ban on gays serving openly in the US military now seems more likely. A new poll shows a solid majority of Americans say 'don't ask, don't tell' is discriminatory. Those in uniform are more likely to favor keeping the law, but that's changing too.

Gay rights activist Lt. Dan Choi, attends a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington Feb. 2 related to the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. Choi, who is a West Point alumni, is a member of the New York National Guard.

Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

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A small majority of Americans say Congress should repeal the law barring gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military. But a much higher majority – 66 percent – agrees that the law is a form of discrimination, according to a new poll.

A Quinnipiac University poll conducted earlier this month found that 57 percent of Americans believe the controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” law that bars homosexuals from serving openly in the military should be repealed. Another 36 percent of Americans say it should not be repealed. Yet 66 percent of the 2,617 registered voters polled agree that not allowing openly gay men and women to serve in the military is a form of discrimination; 31 percent say it is not.

The poll, which has a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points, was released Wednesday.

“By a solid margin, American voters say go ahead and allow gays to openly serve in the military,” said Peter Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute, in a statement.

Pentagon considers impact of repeal

The poll comes as the Pentagon contemplates repeal of the law, implemented in 1993.

President Obama has said he wants to remove the ban. But the first step in that direction didn’t occur until last week when Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, announced the creation of a task force to look at how the ban would be lifted.

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