Rights groups crit­i­cize sur­vey on gay troops

Austin American-Statesman - - SATURDAYBRIEFING -

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.

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