W.F. Price has a carefully thought out, well-reasoned post on gays in the military. He expands on this post featuring a gay Marine (how it pains me to say that) kissing his boyfriend on return to the US.
Not being as thoughtful and reasonable as he, I will say that it would bother me a little less if the service member (that word seems more appropriate for this situation than “Marine”, “soldier”, “airman”, or any other actual military title- people in the military are largely now just government employees not wearing ties) appeared to be the boy in the relationship.
That said, the DOD has no reason to please me. My service is long past, and they didn’t much care what I thought back then either. They do, however, need to recruit a certain kind of young man to do the things that need doing, that women and gays aren’t likely to do. (Spare me the stories of super-macho gay infantrymen. Most gays will be in support functions, like everybody else of course, but disproportionately few in combat specialties.)
Such a young man looks at a picture of a returning soldier kissing a woman and has the romantic fantasies of youth sparked. If he joins, he will be welcomed back as a hero. If the woman is pretty, it’s even better- being an American hero will help him get a hot girlfriend. This is far from the case, but youthful illusion is what the military runs on.
He sees a returning (male) soldier kissing another guy, and he is grossed out. “Homophobia” has been beaten out of the population for decades, but it’s a normal reponse to something naturally disgusting. He does not picture himself as a returning hero, about to knock off a hot piece after some months he-man action. He pictures himself spending months far away from the comforts of home, in close quarters and conditions of poor sanitation with other guys, some of who may be doing it with other guys in his awareness or making passes at him- an extremely insulting and degrading thing for a heterosexual male.
Straight men do not feel comfortable around gay men. Race is not a comparison. Racial problems are difficult, but can be dealt with by mutual respect. A foxhole, bunker, or tent crowded with cots is not an office.