A campaign to delay repeal of “don't ask, don't tell” this year has the nation's leading lobbying group “disturbed,” POLITICO reported.

In a letter to President Obama, Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, alleges the Obama administration is quietly campaigning against repeal this year of the law that prescribes discharge for gay troops who do not remain closeted or celibate.

“I am very disturbed by multiple reports from Capitol Hill that your Congressional liaison team is urging some Members of Congress to avoid a vote on repeal this year,” Sarvis says in the letter.

“The upcoming House and Senate votes will be close, and very frankly, Mr. President, we need your help now.”

In an interview with gay glossy The Advocate, Sarvis goes on to say that the Department of Defense is lobbying members of congress to delay taking a vote on the policy until after Defense Secretary Robert Gates' implementation review is completed. The study – which will look at how best to implement changes in the military should Congress repeal the law – is due in December.

“The administration is saying, 'Look, the working group has its task, their work is not concluded until the end of the year, and we would prefer that this not be voted on this year,” Sarvis said.

Proponents of repeal – including openly gay Massachusetts Representative Barney Frank – have previously suggested the study is unnecessary and a likely delay tactic.

Timing of repeal is important. Most supporters concede passage in the Senate will be difficult and had hoped to avoid a direct confrontation by tucking repeal language in next year's defense budget.

Sarvis warned that the window for such action is closing quickly.

“The train is leaving,” he said. “We could have key votes before the Memorial Day recess.”

Last month, Representative Frank sounded a similar alarm when he called on the president to make it clear that he supports repeal of the law this year.

“The administration has been ambiguous about it, and that ambiguity has allowed some to interpret Secretary Gates' argument for a delay in implementation as a delay in adopting the legislation.”