American soldiers from the 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team standing at attention. From
While I appreciate the New York Times op-ed that former head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili wrote, suggesting that preventing openly gay people from serving in the military is no longer needed, I am not impressed by his reservations:

But if America is ready for a military policy of nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation, the timing of the change should be carefully considered. As the 110th Congress opens for business, some of its most urgent priorities, like developing a more effective strategy in Iraq, share widespread support that spans political affiliations. Addressing such issues could help heal the divisions that cleave our country. Fighting early in this Congress to lift the ban on openly gay service members is not likely to add to that healing, and it risks alienating people whose support is needed to get this country on the right track.

I am not sure that the social agenda of certain people in the government is entirely relevant in this situation. As Shalikashvili admits in a previous paragraph, the sole reason that openly gay people are not currently allowed to serve are because of fears of affecting unit cohesion. If those fears are unfounded, the moral obligation of the government to change the policy trumps issues of political expediency.