California Representative Ellen Tauscher announced she would begin a renewed push to end the 16-year-old ban against gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military on Monday. Dr. Nathaniel Frank, senior research fellow at the Palm Center, joined her in making the announcement. Frank discussed his book on cable television last night where he alleges top military advisors invented their rational for keeping gays quiet in the military.

“Don't ask, don't tell” was implemented by Congress in 1993 and signed by President Bill Clinton. The law prescribes discharge as the remedy for gay service members who do not remain quiet about their sexuality or do not remain celibate.

President Barack Obama pledged his support for repeal on the campaign trail, but since taking office has only spoken once on the issue. Last month, the Boston Globe quoted Obama saying the administration would wait for a Pentagon assessment on the issue before moving forward. Gay rights activists who have made repeal a top priority were disheartened.

“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,” Aubrey Sarvis, president of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a group that advocates for the repeal of the military's gay ban, wrote in a Huffington Post column. “What is relevant is how well he or she does the job.”

But yesterday, after Tauscher introduced her Military Readiness Enhancement Act, an Obama spokesman sounded a bit more upbeat.

“[Obama has] begun consulting closely with Secretary Gates and Chairman Mullen so that this change is done in a sensible way that strengthens our armed forces and national security,” White House Spokesman Tommy Vietor was quoted in The Associated Press.

And last night, things got even more interesting when Frank went on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show and said “don't ask” advisors now admit the policy was a deliberate deception based on no empirical evidence.

Frank, author of Unfriendly Fire: How the Gay Ban Undermines the Military and Weakens America, told openly lesbian Rachel Maddow that military advisors to Clinton have admitted to the deception.

“They said it was based on nothing,” Frank told Maddow. “It was rooted in their own prejudices and fears. They even said they didn't know what sexual orientation meant.”

“Instead they crated this unit cohesion argument. Which is the idea that openly gay service will somehow undermine unit cohesion and that you have to force service members to lie in order to preserve unit cohesion. Instead of the other way around, that forcing people to lie actually has its own impact on unit cohesion.”

Frank agreed with Maddow's statement: “A key advisor to this panel admitted full-stop that the unit cohesion argument was completely made up out of whole cloth.”

Frank said he was “cautious” about Obama's announcement to review the law.

“Of course military leaders should be consulted,” Frank said. “But he should do it armed with the confidence that we now have the research showing that openly gay service doesn't have any negative impact on the military. And, in fact, the policy itself is what's causing us to lose soldiers and to force service members to lie to one another. And that's bad for unit cohesion.”

Opponents of repeal say open service would “sexualize” the military and often portray gay men and women as sexual predators who infiltrate the military to have at its sexual bounty.