Homosexuals in the Military:

Policies and Practices of Foreign Countries

NSIAD-93-215: Published: Jun 25, 1993. Publicly Released: Jun 25, 1993.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed 25 foreign countries' policies concerning homosexuals in the military, focusing on: (1) the policies' evolution; (2) the comparison of military policies to civilian laws; (3) whether armed services' practices are consistent with military policies; and (4) each countries' experience with homosexuals in the military.

GAO found that: (1) 11 of the 25 countries have policies that prohibit homosexuals from serving in their militaries, 11 countries have policies that permit homosexuals to serve, and 3 countries do not have any laws, regulations, or policies that cover the issue; (2) 3 countries have military policies that are consistent with civilian laws that prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation; (3) Germany's civilian laws and military policies do not specifically address homosexuality, but its courts have allowed restrictions on homosexuals in the military; (4) military policies regarding homosexuals have evolved over time and usually follow changes in civilian attitudes and laws; (5) there are no apparent inconsistencies between foreign military policies and practices concerning homosexuals; (6) few homosexuals have openly revealed their sexual orientation because they view sexual orientation as a private matter, fear discrimination or negative reactions from peers or superiors, see no advantage in revealing their orientation, and serving near their homes allows them to maintain their private lives; (7) some homosexuals may reveal their sexual orientation after they have established their military careers, professional reputations, and respect; (8) military officials in Canada, Germany, Israel, and Sweden believe that the presence of homosexuals in the military has not created problems, since homosexuality is not an issue in the military or society; and (9) the inclusion of homosexuals in the foreign military has not adversely affected unit readiness, effectiveness, cohesion, or morale because of military leadership's support of the policies and flexibility in dealing with homosexual individuals.

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