A very good paragraph from today's Guardian; I found the last paragraph especially telling:
Uncomfortable though it is to recall now, in the second world war the American military segregated servicemen by race. A combined force, claimed commanders, would disrupt discipline and weaken the fighting spirit of the troops. That prejudice was smashed many years ago and, in President Obama, America now has a black commander in chief. But identical fallacies were used until recently to discriminate against gay men and lesbians who wanted to serve their country. Soldiers, said generals, would not feel comfortable fighting alongside people of different sexuality – who in turn might be too effeminate to fight, or open to blackmail by foreign powers, as a British military report concluded as recently as 1996. It was absurd: armies throughout history have contained gay men, and in 2000, when Britain lifted the ban, the sky did not fall in. Openly gay British sailors and soldiers have served in Afghanistan, and joined gay pride marches in uniform. Now, at last, the United States is following suit. President Clinton aimed to lift the ban but retreated instead to a notorious "don't ask, don't tell" policy. President Obama has gone further; on Wednesday the US court of appeals backed full military equality and the Pentagon is now rewriting its rules. In the week that the body of Andrew Wilfahrt, the first openly gay American to die in combat, was brought home, it is right to remember that in a democracy the armed forces should represent all parts of the nations whose freedoms they are expected to defend.