Leading groups lobbying for repeal of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” say the Pentagon's DADT survey is biased against gay troops.

Alexander Nicholson, executive director of Servicemembers United, blasted the survey.

“It is simply impossible to imagine a survey with such derogatory and insulting wording, assumptions, and insinuations going out about any other minority group in the military,” he said.

“This expensive survey stokes the fires of homophobia by its very design and will only make the Pentagon responsibility to subdue homophobia as part of this inevitable policy change even harder.”

The Department of Defense announced Wednesday that 400,000 service members will receive the survey that directs participants to a secure website where they are asked to answer roughly 90 questions, including whether or not the policy that bans openly gay service should be lifted.

Nicholson pointed to a question that asks how a service member would react if he or she needed to share showering facilities with someone believed to be gay or lesbian during a wartime situation.

Responses range from take no action to discussing how service members are expected to behave in such situations and speaking to a leader or chaplain about other options.

Nicholson said the question suggests that gay troops need to be lectured to. Other problems, Nicholson says, include the survey's use of the outmoded word “homosexual” to describe gay men and lesbians, and its overwhelming focus on the potential drawbacks of repeal.

The Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the nation's largest group lobbying for repeal, warned Thursday that gay and lesbian personnel could be accidentally outed by answering the survey, which could lead to a discharge.

“There is no guarantee of privacy,” the group said, “and [the] DoD has not agreed to provide immunity to service members whose privacy may be inadvertently violated or who inadvertently outs himself or herself.”

On Friday, the group stood by its statement.

“At this time, our warning stands that gay and lesbian service members should not take the survey unless adequate legal protections are put in place,” Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of SLDN, said.

Sarvis agreed that the survey appeared biased.

“No one should be surprised if a number of prejudices come to light in these surveys,” he said.

Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, urged service members – including gay troops – to complete the survey.

Mullen said the survey would give the Pentagon “objective information” from the people most affected by repeal of the law.

The survey is part of the military's comprehensive review of “Don't Ask, Don't Tell,” the law approved by Congress and signed by President Bill Clinton in 1993. Under a last-minute deal brokered by gay groups and Democratic leaders, the review will continue even as Congress debates repeal of the law.