Aubrey Sarvis, the president of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that advocates for the repeal of the military's gay ban, is speaking out on President Barack Obama's reported delay in fulfilling a campaign promise to lift “don't ask, don't tell,” the 16-year-old military law that bans open gay service.

The Boston Globe reported on Feb. 1 that the administration would wait for a Pentagon assessment on the issue before moving forward. Sarvis called that Washington-speak for “let's just kick this down the road a ways” in a Huffington Post editorial.

“We do not need another report to tell us what we already know and what earlier reports have long since concluded: The sexual orientation of a service member is irrelevant,” Sarvis wrote. “What is relevant is how well he or she does the job.”

“Don't ask, don't tell” was implemented in 1993 by President Bill Clinton, who promised gay groups he would end a military prohibition on gays and lesbian service. Clinton instituted the policy that keeps gays and lesbians from disclosing their sexuality or face discharge after being confronted by fierce resistance from lawmakers and top Pentagon brass in repealing an outright gay ban.

The Pentagon has been told that the Obama administration will not be looking to lift the ban soon, reports the Globe.

President Obama first began distancing himself from the issue in September when he told Mark Segal, publisher of gay weekly Philadelphia Gay News (, that he would first seek consensus from lawmakers and commanders on the issue.

“Although I have consistently said I would repeal 'don't ask, don't tell', I believe that the way to do it is make sure that we are working through a process, getting the Joint Chiefs of Staff clear in terms of what our priorities are going to be,” Obama said.

But the president does appear committed to repeal. At the administration's official website,, the issue is listed under Civil Rights: “President Obama agrees with former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Shalikashvili and other military experts that we need to repeal the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy. The key test for military service should be patriotism, a sense of duty, and a willingness to serve. Discrimination should be prohibited. ... The president will work with military leaders to repeal the current policy and ensure it helps accomplish our national defense goals.”

In November, over 104 retired generals and admirals released a joint statement calling for an end to the military's gay ban on open service, including Admiral Charles Larson, a four-star admiral and two-time superintendent of the U.S. Naval Academy.

Larson supported the gay ban in 1993, but said working closely with a number of gay colleagues and discussing the issue with his lesbian daughter had changed his view.

“I think the time has come to find a way to let talented, young, patriotic Americans who want to serve their country serve,” Admiral Larson said. Responding to proponents of the gay ban who say openly gay service members would “sexualize” the military, he said, “[L]et's enforce high standards for personal and human behavior for everyone.”

Opponents of repeal often characterize gay service members as sexual predators. In July, at a Congressional hearing on the law, Elaine Donnelly, president of the Center for Military Readiness, testified that lifting the ban would “sexualize” the military.

“People who make such an argument betray their ignorance of military culture,” Gary Barkley, an Iraq war veteran considering a bid for Congress from Utah ( told On Top Magazine. “And for the most part have never put on a uniform themselves. Anyone who has served during the era of 'don't ask, don't tell' knows better than to believe that gays are just looking for a hook-up.”