'Don't ask, don't tell' results indicate public opinion shift on gay rights in Oklahoma
Results of a recent SoonerPoll show that majority of Oklahomans oppose repealing the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, but the opposition is not as strong as expected.
The poll found that 34 percent of Oklahomans want to repeal the policy that allows homosexuals to serve in the military as long as they keep their sexual preference a secret while just more than 48 percent disagreed with repealing the policy. Another 17.4 percent of Oklahomans remain neutral on the issue.
The fact that less than 50 percent oppose repealing the law surprised SoonerPoll vice president Keith Gaddie, who went on to note that �as conservative as this state is, and traditional as it is in its values, you would have expected a stronger level of support for maintaining the policy.�
SoonerPoll.com, Oklahoma�s public opinion pollster, conducted the scientific study using live interviewers by telephone of 500 likely voters from April 5 � 12. The study has a margin of error of � 4.38 percent.
The 'don't ask, don't tell' policy, which states that once a service member�s homosexuality is out in the open, he or she may be discharged, was adopted by Congress and signed into law by President Bill Clinton in 1993.
Since the policy was enacted, more than 13,500 military personnel have been discharged for their sexual orientation, according to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.
�I think this goes to sex issues in general,� Gaddie said. �In a traditional conservative society, you just don�t talk about this stuff. A policy that is seen as �no harm, no foul,� if it�s kept private, has support.�
Although a movement is under way to repeal the policy, it remains a campaign promise that President Barack Obama has been unable to fulfill.