President-elect Clinton said Wednesday he remains committed to ending the Pentagon's ban on gays in the military.

"My position is we need everybody in America that's got a contribution to make that's willing to obey the law and work hard and play by the rules. That's the way I feel," he said.

Clinton said a study showed that "a lot of gays have performed with great distinction in the military" and said he did not think that sexual preference alone, "in the absence of some destructive behavior, should disqualify people.

"How to do it - the mechanics of doing it - I want to consult with military leaders about that," he said. "There will be time for that."

Clinton's remarks came a day after a federal judge in Los Angeles said he was likely to rule unconstitutional the military's ban on homosexuals.

US District Judge Terry Hatter ordered the Navy Tuesday to reinstate a discharged gay sailor by Thursday or face contempt of court charges.

of 5 stories this month > Get unlimited stories
You've read 5 of 5 free stories

Only $1 for your first month.

Get unlimited Monitor journalism.