Aubrey Sarvis, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), has called Republicans “shameless” for their efforts to derail “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” repeal.

After an House Armed Services subcommittee last week heard testimony from Clifford Stanley, the undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness, the full committee will take up the issue on Thursday.

Last year, Congress approved and President Barack Obama signed into law a bill that repeals the Clinton-era law that bans gay and bisexual troops from serving openly. But implementation won't begin until 60 days after Pentagon leaders and the president certify that the military is ready for the change.

Republican members on the subcommittee criticized the move.

Georgia Representative Austin Scott challenged Vice Admiral William E. Gortney's claim that gay sailors were discharged under the policy because of their sexuality.

“Did you discharge him from the service because he was gay or because he violated a standard of conduct?” Scott asked.

“Because he was gay,” Gortney answered.

“He did not violate a standard of conduct before he was dismissed?” Scott asked.

“He did not.”

“That's not the answer I thought you would give to be honest with you, admiral,” Scott replied.

Scott went on to predict an exodus of troops from the military.

Rep. Mike Coffman of Colorado said open gay service would undermine the military mission.

“I think this is a political decision obviously made by the executive branch and the military will follow it under whatever circumstances and ramifications it has to the combat effectiveness to our forces,” Coffman said.

Sarvis chided the committee's leaders for their decision to pursue the matter with a second hearing.

“We are within hours of a government shutdown which is going to have adverse and unintended consequences on our fighting men and women in uniform. And yet, repeal opponents felt the need this afternoon to spend precious time on how to prevent gays and lesbians from serving openly and honestly in our military. Mind you, we are talking about gay and lesbian service members already in Iraq and Afghanistan who could well give their lives or limbs for this country. I am compelled to ask: Have they no shame, no sense of priorities?” Savis said in a statement.

“Today’s hearing is yet another attempt by the committee’s new majority to defund, delay, and derail the repeal of 'Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.' Unfortunately, however, it also represents more than that. It’s indicative of an ongoing and coordinated effort by opponents of repeal to undermine the integrity of this process and make repeal – already decided in a bi-partisan way by the Congress, the Pentagon, the President, and the American people – a political football for the 2012 election season.”