I don't know much about this having only been an E-5 Sq Ldr as an EM and commanded four companies, and been a combat battalion XO and Commander as an officer, but in my opinion "respect" is tricky and "coming out of the closet" loses the respect of a sizable segment of the force. I would also say, if you haven't "been there," you don't know what you're talking about. A gay member is not the most reliable judge of how other troops feel about them. To them, they "accept" another gay member, to a straight, there is a loss of respect and especially if a gay member is in a leadership position.
I concede, some troops may accept gays it but now with the force under extreme stress is NOT the time for this risky experiments.
Ever heard the old Army saying: "Guys don't like to take showers with guys that like to take showers with guys." Well, it's true. Communal living is tough enough without introducing "sexual tension" into the barracks or foxhole.
I would also ask that, if you've never had the guts to serve in the Military, don't begin to preach to me about how a service member should have to live "in close quarters." I'd prefer you just said "thank you for your service" and went on your way.
...and as for the arguement that "it's working for other nations," No army in the World, including the Israeli army, holds a candle to either the US Army or the US Marine Corps. Just because some second rate military gets away with a questionable policy is no reason to experiment with what is unarguably and by far the finest military in the World!