DEREK JARMAN: Many great heroes were gay - Alexander wouldn't have been there under this rule. It's a non-problem - is one sex act enough to bring the Army to its knees?

JACK, Army sergeant: Obviously yes. We have to share eight-man quarters - how would you like it if your room-mate got drunk and made a pass at you? And you wouldn't know where to look in the shower.

GILL MULLINS, journalist: The British Army isn't going to disintegrate into a bunch of raving woofters with pansies draped over their helmets if you let soldiers come out of the closet. My fiance is an officer in the Royal Engineers - I can't see him being sexually hassled by an openly gay soldier.

JOHN ALLEN, uniform manufacturer: No. You might as well say that you can't be in the Army if you have blue eyes.

JOHN, former senior aircraftsman, RAF: In my case, a diary and photographs were found which indicated I was gay, and six months later I was discharged. I had a breakdown and contemplated suicide. A couple of the others knew I was gay and it didn't really affect their attitude. Supposed homosexual orgies in the forces actually come from heterosexuals getting drunk and gang-banging squaddies.

MARK HEALEY, ex-Royal Marine: The argument that gays wouldn't make good soldiers, that they would fight like women, doesn't work - Israelis are the best soldiers in the world and a third are women.

LADY OLGA MAITLAND, MP: If you were fighting in tight conditions alongside openly acknowledged homosexuals, it could put tremendous pressure on non-homosexuals and cause a lot of friction. It's nothing to do with gay-bashing, but what is most operationally successful.

DR ANDREW STANWAY, psycho-sexual physician: Macho men are often unconsciously defending themselves against their own fears of having homosexual tendencies. When someone protests too much it pays to stand back and ask why they are complaining.

(Photograph omitted)