Former Arkansas governor and Fox News host Mike Huckabee said Tuesday he would support re-imposing the ban on gays and lesbians serving openly in the military if elected president.
"I would -- because that's really what the military wants," Huckabee told OneNewsNow. "There's been some talk that the military is fine with having same-sex orientation people. But if you really surveyed the combat troops, that is not at all the case."
"I don't think that these are decisions that politicians should make," the potential Republican 2012 presidential candidate added. "These are decisions that soldiers should make. And when the soldiers in the foxholes make the decisions, they choose something different -- and we should listen to them."
A 267-page Department of Defense report [PDF] published in November 2010 concluded that "the risk of repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell to overall military effectiveness is low" but added that the implementation of the repeal could "bring about some limited and isolated disruption to unit cohesion and retention."
The report found that 70 percent of troops surveyed said having a gay or lesbian member in their unit would have positive, mixed or no effect on the unit's ability to "work together to get the job done."
The report also found that 69% of troops surveyed believed they had worked in a unit with someone who was homosexual and 92% of those who believed they worked in a unit with someone who was homosexual rated the ability of unit to work together as very good, good or neither good nor poor.
"Though there are fundamental differences between matters of race, gender, and sexual orientation, we believe the U.S. military's prior experiences with racial and gender integration are relevant," the report stated. It added that in the 1940s and 1950s the U.S. military successfully implemented racial integration in the midst of the Korean War and during a time when resistance to change was far more intense.
"Some of our best-known and most-revered military leaders from the World War II-era voiced opposition to the integration of blacks into the military, making strikingly similar predictions of the negative impact on unit cohesion," the report said. "But by 1953, 95% of all African-American soldiers were serving in racially integrated units, while public buses in Montgomery, Alabama and other cities were still racially segregated."