Survey: Evangelicals Go Against the Tide on Don't Ask, Don't Tell

Protestants are more likely to support than oppose gays serving openly in the military, the latest survey on "don't ask, don't tell" reveals.

While 49 percent of Protestants favor permitting homosexuals to serve openly, only 34 percent are against it, the Pew Research Center found.

Worshippers from mainline churches along with black churches are the two groups driving up the percentage of Protestants favoring gays serving openly. White evangelicals, meanwhile, are keeping the percentage below 50 percent.

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According to the Pew survey, white evangelicals are the only religious Americans that are more likely to oppose (48 percent) letting homosexuals serve openly in the armed forces than favor (34 percent) it.

Similar to white mainline Protestants, more Catholics support gays and lesbians serving openly than oppose it, 63 to 21 percent.

Interestingly, Americans who attend services weekly or more are evenly divided at 40 percent. The survey also indicated that the less frequently one attends services, the more likely he or she is to favor allowing gays to serve openly in the military.

Overall, most Americans (58 percent) say they favor permitting gays to serve openly, up from 52 percent in 1994.

The national survey was conducted Nov. 4-7 among 1,255 adults. The release of the report on Monday comes just a day ahead of an anticipated survey of military personnel about the "don't ask, don't tell" policy.

The Department of Defense is scheduled to release its research findings and report examining the effects of repealing the 1993 policy on Tuesday.

The contentious policy was enacted by President Clinton after Congress passed a law that same year banning homosexuals from serving in the military. Though it bars openly gay individuals from serving in the U.S. military, it also bars the military from asking service members of their sexual orientation.

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