Openly gay Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank has come out swinging at supporters of the military's “don't ask, don't tell” policy that bans open gay service.

On Friday, Frank appeared on the Michelangelo Signorile radio talk show to discuss the issue.

The policy has come under close scrutiny since President Obama called for an end to the law during his first State of the Union address. On Tuesday, the Pentagon's top brass – Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates – told a key Senate panel considering the issue that the military should end the policy. The testimony – in particular Mullen's support – has stirred new debates on the issue.

Frank took offense at Gates' announcement that the military would conduct a year-long study on how best to implement repeal should Congress repeal the law.

“These include potential revisions to policies on benefits, base housing, fraternization and misconduct, separations and discharges, and many others,” Gates said in his testimony.

“I was actually troubled by some of Gates' approach,” Frank said in the radio interview. “I have no idea what he plans to study when he talked about housing.”

Frank and other lawmakers, including Senator Carl Levin, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, are backing a plan that calls for including repeal legislation in the military's annual reauthorization in the fall.

“As quickly as we can do this, it will be toward the end of the year. So Gates has plenty of time to study whatever the hell he wants to study,” Frank added.

Opponents of the policy have sounded similar concerns.

“You're a gay service member today taking a shower, and when the law will change, you'll be a gay service member taking a shower tomorrow,” Aaron Tax, legal director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, a gay group that lobbies for repeal, told National Public Radio. “We're not incorporating a new element here. Gay people have been serving the military since the beginning of time.”

Frank also took aim at Arizona Senator John McCain, who appears to be taking the helm for Republicans opposed to repeal.

McCain, a ranking member of the Senate committee, declared himself “deeply disappointed” in Gates' testimony.

“At this moment of immense hardship for our armed services, we should not be seeking to overturn the 'don't ask,don't tell' policy,” McCain said.

“And that John McCain … I think the last vestiges that John McCain is an independent guy ready to resist the right wing should be buried,” Frank said referring to McCain's 2008 presidential campaign that touted his maverick credentials.

In a separate statement released by the representative's office, Frank disagreed with repeal opponents who say the timing is wrong.

“The argument that we should not repeal 'don't ask, don't tell' because we are in the midst of two wars is badly flawed. Ironically, the religious fundamentalist terrorists we are fighting generally agree with the defenders of this discriminatory policy in their opposition to the principle that gay men and lesbians should be treated fairly.”

And Frank thanked Mullen for his support.

“As a gay man, I want to pay particular tribute to the decency, integrity, and courage of Admiral Mullen, who so clearly stated his opposition to a policy that has been deeply unfair to many men and women with whom he himself has served. I regret that Republican Members of the Committee saw fit to use this example of Admiral Mullen’s courage as a basis for unfair criticism.”