Washington (CNN) - The secretary of defense is warning Congress not to change the rules about gays in the military until the Pentagon has reviewed the impact of repealing the laws on the force.
In a letter sent to the House Armed Services Committee's chairman on Friday, Gates wrote he is "strongly opposed" to any changes to the "don't ask, don't tell" legislation before the military review is completed.
"I hope Congress will not do so, as it would send a very damaging message to our men and women in uniform that in essence their views, concerns, and perspectives do not matter on an issue with such a direct impact and consequence for them and their families," Gates wrote in the letter, which was obtained by CNN.
The defense secretary was responding to a request from Sen. Ike Skelton, D-Missouri, head of the Armed Services Committee, for comment about the potential for such legislation changes.
Read Gates' letter to Skelton here.
Read Skelton's letter to Gates here.