(NEW YORK) -- Seventy-seven percent of Americans support allowing gays and lesbians to serve openly in the U.S. military -- the highest percentage in polling going back 17 years -- capping a dramatic long-term shift in public attitudes on the issue.
The result in the latest ABC News/Washington Post poll comes as the House prepares to vote on legislation that would repeal the current “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, a measure previously approved in the House as part of a larger bill, but stalled in the Senate.
When first asked in an ABC/Post poll in 1993, 63 percent of Americans favored allowing service by homosexuals who don’t reveal their sexual orientation -- the “don’t tell” policy. Far fewer, 44 percent, supported service by gays who openly reveal their sexual orientation.
Both views have changed, the latter most sharply. Today, 83 percent favor allowing service by gays who don’t tell, up 20 points, and, as noted, almost as many also favor service by gays and lesbians who do disclose their sexual orientation, up 33 points from its 1993 level.
These numbers have been largely stable the last few years. The former, 83 percent, matches its high last February. The 77 percent figure is two points above its previous high in ABC/Washington Post polls in 2008 and last winter.
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