The Christian conservative American Family Association (AFA) has criticized the Pentagon's recent decision to extend some benefits to the spouses of gay and lesbian service members.

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on Monday announced the benefits, which include housing privileges, access to base recreational facilities and joint duty assignments for couples in the military.

In an email to supporters which included an image of a gay rainbow on a tombstone, the AFA criticized Panetta, saying that he has “effectively devastated our nation's military by allowing the 'gay agenda' to take priority over national defense.”

Homosexuality, the AFA claims, “presents an unacceptable risk to good order, discipline, morale and unit cohesion – qualities essential for combat readiness.” The “most disturbing [thing] is his decision to allow homosexual partners to be buried on the hallowed grounds of Arlington National Cemetery.”

Members are urged to contact their representatives to let them know that “they have allowed the security of our nation to be endangered by focusing on social experimentation, rather than defense.”

(Related: Jim Inhofe criticizes Obama for extending benefits to gay troops.)