Don't ask, don't tell: How do other countries treat gay soldiers?
Don't ask, don't tell doesn't fly with NATO members, except Turkey and the US. NATO nations now allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. But 53 nations, including North Korea, Iran, Pakistan, and Syria, ban homosexuals from military service.
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US allies allow homosexuals to serve
Already, US service members serve alongside gays and lesbians. The Williams Institute at the University of California, Los Angeles, has estimated that some 66,000 gay and lesbian troops serve (pdf download) in the US forces today. And Britain, a key ally in Iraq and Afghanistan, has allowed homosexuals to openly serve in its military for a decade.Skip to next paragraph
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Canada and Australia lifted their bans in 1992, followed by Israel in 1993, and South Africa in 1998. The lift on bans did not result in a mass “coming out,” the Palm Center found, nor were there instances of increased harassment of or by gay people.
When Britain looked to repeal its ban, its military initially considered DADT. But they found it was a “disaster,” which “hadn’t worked,” was “unworkable” and was “hypocritical,” according to the Palm Center’s report, "Gays in Foreign Militaries 2010: A Global Primer."
Instead, the British military based its regulations on the Australian model, which simply ban public displays of affection, harassment and inappropriate relationships – regardless of whether the couple was gay or straight. In 2002, the British Ministry of Defense reconfirmed that “there has been no discernible impact on operational effectiveness” as a result of ending the gay ban and that “no further review of the Armed Forces policy on homosexuality” was necessary.
US concerns unfounded: studies
Concern that the repeal of DADT will reduce the number of volunteers is unfounded, according to Dr. Nathaniel Frank, primary author of the Palm Center Report. In Britain and Canada, roughly two-thirds of the military said it would refuse to serve with open gays, but in reality no more than three people in each country actually resigned, according to the report.
The US Army Research Institute for the Behavioral and Social Sciences studied the situation in Canada in 1994. It concluded that “negative consequences predicted in the areas of recruitment, employment, attrition, retention, and cohesion and morale have not occurred” since Canada's policy was changed.
If the US does repeal DADT, then precedent from other countries says that a change in policy should be implemented firmly and swiftly. A 1993 Rand report (pdf download) said “fast and pervasive change will signal commitment to the [new] policy,” while “incremental changes would likely be viewed as experimental” and weaken compliance.