By Kathleen Gilbert

WASHINGTON, D.C., January 15, 2008 ( – President-elect Obama will push ahead with plans to remove the U.S. military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on admitting open homosexuals, according to incoming White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs.

Though Obama’s “civil rights agenda” published on the Internet since at least November ( has indicated his plans to revamp the military’s approach to homosexual personnel, the news broke afresh when Gibbs unequivocally answered the policy question on a recent YouTube video.

In response to whether Obama would get rid of the Clinton-era “don’t ask” policy, Gibbs said, “You don’t hear a politician give a one-word answer much.  But it’s, ‘Yes.’”

Because “there are many challenges facing our nation now” and Obama is focusing on economic policy, Gibbs added Wednesday, “not everything will get done in the beginning,” but Obama is nonetheless “committed” to eradicating the policy, according to CNN.

Members of the pro-homosexuality community welcomed the news as indicative of a growing acceptance of the homosexual lifestyle. 

“We know of gay, lesbian, bisexual veterans who have served in combat theater, and I think that’s also a big piece of it,” said sociologist Melissa Embser-Herbert. “It’s a much harder sell to the general public that that person who died or lost a leg didn’t deserve to be serving their country.”

Matt Shea, chief of staff of American Legion Post 911, told the San Francisco Gate that he deployed to Iraq with a friend who later admitted to being homosexual: “It’s about competence, about being able to do your job. He was a better leader than most, took care of his guys better than most I’d seen.

“Who … cares? Seriously,” said Shea.

A U.S. Army captain, who wished to remain anonymous and speak only on his own behalf, disagreed.

Commenting from Iraq, he told “No one is saying a homosexual is incapable of serving in the army, or even that they don’t deserve to.  Military life requires a degree of intimacy.  Service men and women share the same rooms, showers, tents and foxholes.  Allowing homosexuals to serve openly could create a potentially lethal distraction as well as detract from unit morale and cohesion.”

While tolerance of homosexuality in general is on the rise, he said, such changes in attitude are “a far cry” from solving the problem of mixed attractions among military personnel.

“It’s inappropriate to put someone in a position where they will be in such close quarters where sexual interest might be involved,” said the captain.  “It can easily be seen as a form of sexual harassment, for either party, which will erode discipline.”