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British Army Actively Recruits Gay Soldiers
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British Army Actively Recruits Gay Soldiers

Theunis Bates
AOL contributor

LONDON (Feb. 2) -- When Britain was forced to drop its ban on homosexuals serving in the armed forces in 2000 following a ruling by the European Court of Human Rights, some military chiefs warned the decision would not only lead to discord and harassment, but could even damage the nation's war-fighting capabilities.

In fact, the biggest news about the change was that it resulted in no news. Academic studies published in peer-reviewed journals found that allowing openly gay troops to serve in the U.K. had no negative impact on cohesion, readiness, recruiting, morale, retention or any other measure of effectiveness.

Today, the military treats its estimated 14,000 gay service personnel just like ordinary soldiers. When civil partnerships -- which give gay couples the same legal rights as married Brits -- were introduced in 2005, married quarters for military staff were renamed Service Family Accommodation and homosexual couples were given the same housing access as heterosexual couples, together with equal pension and compensation rights.

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