Gates tells reporters today that the new rules, which take effect immediately, put higher-ranking officers in charge of discharge proceedings and tighter rules on evidence.
He says the new rules amount to applying common sense and common decency to a very difficult issue.
The Defense department is already in the middle of a lengthy re-examination of the ban, which could only be dropped entirely by Congress.
President Barack Obama has called for a outright repeal of the policy.
Source: Doug Stanglin for USA Today.