Defence Secretary Robert Gates

LGBT activists have expressed their anger following the leaking of a letter from US military leaders calling for Congress not to interfere in the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban for now.

In the letter, Defence Secretary Robert Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm. Mike Mullen told the House Armed Services Committee that more time is needed before lifting the ban on gay and lesbian personnel in the military.

“Our military must be afforded the opportunity to inform us of their concerns, insights and suggestions if we are to carry out this change successfully,” Gates and Mullen said.

They warned that if Congress acted prematurely, “it would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns and perspectives do not matter”.

The president of the Human Right Campaign (HRC) Joe Solmonese, slammed the letter in a statement, saying that it “flies in the face of the President’s commitment in the State of the Union address to work with Congress to repeal the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law this year.”

He added:”…failure to act this year will, without a doubt, continue to send the message to the thousands of gay and lesbian Americans serving their country in silence that their views and concerns, and the impact on them and their families, do not matter to the military leadership, including their Commander-in-Chief.

“If the President is going to fulfil his promise it is essential that he address this contradiction immediately. It is inconceivable that the Secretary of Defence would so blatantly undermine the Commander-in-Chief’s policy commitment,” said Solmonese.

On Friday, the White House issued a statement saying that President Obama “is committed to getting this done both soon and right.”

Meanwhile, six activists were arrested at a protest again “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” on Sunday after they chained themselves to the White House gates.

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