[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2010/images/05/26/art.troops.ld.gi.jpg caption="A prominent conservative group is warning against a change in the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy."]Washington (CNN) - As lawmakers consider a compromise plan to repeal "don't ask, don't tell," a prominent conservative group is arguing that overturning the policy against gays in the military will increase "homosexual misconduct" - even "sexual bullying, male rape, and forcible sodomy" – in the armed services.
On Wednesday, the Family Research Council held a conference call with reporters featuring retired military leaders and officials from the conservative group.
Senior Fellow for Policy Studies Peter Sprigg argued that publicly available information from the Pentagon on sexual assaults in the military, along with other information, proves that the military currently has a problem with "homosexual misconduct."
"Homosexuals in the military are three times more likely to commit sexual assaults than heterosexuals are, relative to their numbers," Sprigg said. "We believe this problem would only increase if the current law against homosexuality in the military, which was enacted in 1993, were to be repealed."
Sprigg referenced a report he authored which argued that if the law is overturned, more gays will join the military, thereby causing more assaults. The report also said gays will violate military regulations without fear of being discharged, and that victims will be afraid of reporting assaults by gays.
Retired Col. Richard Black, who previously served in the Pentagon, went even further, using graphic language to suggest what might happen if the "don't ask, don't tell" policy were repealed.
"It's a question of whether we will force soldiers to bond with homosexuals in the showers and the barracks, knowing that doing so will result in sexual bullying, male rape, and forcible sodomy," Black said. "There's a reason that we don't make men and women shower together. And for the same reason, we must not force men to shower with homosexuals – it simply does not work."
A prominent gay and lesbian advocacy group vehemently disagrees.
The Human Rights Campaign is actively campaigning for the repeal of the military policy. The group's website calls it a "failed law" and cites support for its repeal from Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Michael Mullen.
"Americans recognize that on the battlefield, it does not matter whether a soldier is lesbian, gay or straight; what matters is that a soldier gets the job done," HRC's website states. "This discriminatory law hurts military readiness and national security while putting American soldiers fighting overseas at risk."
HRC also attacks the notion that harassment by gays will increase if the military policy is repealed.
"This legislation will not lead to increased harassment or claims of discrimination. Repealing DADT will only ensure that lesbian and gay service members are treated equally. The bill permits the U.S. military to prescribe and enforce conduct regulations as long as they are designed and applied without regard to sexual orientation," the HRC website states.
A recent CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll shows that 78-percent of Americans say that openly gay people should be allowed to serve in the military, while just 20 percent say they should not be allowed to openly serve.