Rights groups criticize survey on gay troops
WASHINGTON — A Defense Department survey sent this week to 400,000 service members asks such provocative questions as whether they have shared shower facilities with a gay person and whether they would be comfortable using a base commissary if their neighbors were gay.
The survey, part of what the military says is its effort to prepare for the possible integration of gays and lesbians into the armed forces, provoked immediate criticism from some human rights groups, which called the survey biased and said it was apt to fan fears of gays among the troops.
Servicemembers United, the largest group for gay and lesbian troops and veterans, said the survey includes “derogatory and insulting wording, assumptions and insinuations.”
The fierce reaction to the $4.5 million survey prompted Pentagon worries that the fallout could skew the results of the poll.
“We need this survey, and we need people to participate in this survey to get a sense of the attitudes of the force,” Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell said Friday.