"I will just be me," one person said. "I will bring my family to family events. I will put family pictures on my desk. I am not going to go up to people and say, 'Hi there. I'm gay.'"
Gates said he didn't think the Pentagon would have to rewrite its regulations on housing, benefits or fraternization.
"Existing policies can and should be applied equally to homosexuals as well as heterosexuals," he said, adding that the change could be addressed through increased training and education.
Though some troops suggested during the study that there should be separate bath and living facilities for gays, the report recommended against it because it would be a "logistical nightmare, expensive and impossible to administer."
Further, separate facilities would stigmatize gays and lesbians in the way that "separate but equal" facilities did to blacks before the 1960s, it said.
The report said commanders could address individual concerns on a case-by-case basis.
The survey is based on responses by some 115,000 troops and 44,200 military spouses to more than a half million questionnaires distributed last summer by an independent polling firm.
The House has already voted to overturn the law as part of a broader defense policy bill. But Senate Republicans have blocked the measure because they say not enough time has been allowed for debate on unrelated provisions in the bill.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., has promised a vote on the matter by the end of the year, after hearings can be held this week on the Pentagon study. Still, some gay rights groups contend that Democratic leaders have done little to push for repeal before the new Congress takes over in January.
Reid spokesman Jim Manley said the majority leader is "very much committed to doing away with the ban this year" and that it was the GOP's fault for blocking the bill.
Associated Press writers Anne Gearan, Pauline Jelinek and Julie Pace contributed to this report.