The Senate has passed a law repealing the military's gay ban but one Republican leader is not letting the issue drop.
Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-AZ) said Sunday that the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" could actually "cost lives" by disrupting combat units.
"From a constitutional stand point, this is not a constitutional right or a constitutional issue as was the issue of racial segregation," Kyl told Fox News' Chris Wallace.
"I frankly have to follow the lead of people like the commandant of the Marine Corps, like my colleague John McCain, who say when it comes especially to the small units who do the fighting on the ground, that the US Marine Corps, the Army combat troops, who according to the survey taken by the pentagon were 60 percent opposed to this," Kyl continued.
"It could disrupt the unit cohesion. As the commandant said, cost lives. That means a lot to me," he said.
The Senate minority whip brushed off the similarities between "don't ask, don't tell" repeal and racial integration in the military.
"With regard to the US military, itself, it's got one function. That is to fight and fight well. And maybe to die. And the people who are responsible for that need to make a judgment about whether this will inhibit their ability to carry out that ultimate job that we ask them to do," he insisted.
Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL) noted that 70 percent of service members and their families were prepared to accept repeal.
"The number, incidentally, when those in the military were asked about integration so 60 years ago was 20 percent," Durbin added.
The Senate passed legislation Saturday that will repeal the policy of discrimination by a vote of 65-31.
President Barack Obama is expected to sign the measure this week.