The “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Repeal and Beyond: Credit the Non-Judgmental Young Adults

Senators, your youthful constituents are way ahead of you

Posted Dec 19, 2010

The "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy about gays in the military has been repealed. As news permeates the media and gets chewed upon in the blogosphere, many people will be thanked for this advance in social justice. My guess is that all of those people deserve the gratitude they are receiving.

I'd like to credit a whole swath of society that may or may not be recognized - the young or "emerging" adults. As a group, they are amazingly nonjudgmental. They recognize that various ways of living have been stigmatized by their elders, but they are not buying into the prejudice.

At the end of last month, a Pew and Time magazine survey got lots of attention for the finding that nearly 4 in 10 Americans believe that marriage is becoming obsolete. I was also struck by the more detailed results included in the original report. In some of the analyses, the answers given by various age groups were compared. Those results were among the most consistent. The 18-29 year-olds were more likely than the 30-49, 50-64, or 65-and-older groups to say that:

  • More gay/lesbian couples raising children is a good thing
  • New family arrangements (cohabitation, same-sex couples, etc.) are a good thing
  • Children don't need a mother and father to grow up happily
  • The best marriage is one where husband and wife both work and both take care of the home

I'd like to think that this youthful open-mindedness bodes well for the future of the nation.