Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) warned Sunday that the repeal of the "Don't ask, don't tell" law, passed with the help of eight Republicans on Saturday, could disrupt the efficiency of small combat units and potentially cost lives.
Appearing on "Fox News Sunday," Kyl said the repeal couldn't be compared to other civil rights issues that the armed forces have faced.
"This is not a constitutional right as was the issue of racial segregation," Kyl said of gays serving openly in the military.
But Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), lauding the eight "really strong, courageous" Republicans who voted for the bill, said that each political generation has an opportunity to stand up for justice, and that's just what the Senate did.
"America has come to a point where it understands that sexual orientation should not be used against you," he said.
Kyl said that the military "has one function: to fight and to fight well" — and potentially give their lives in the process.
"When it comes especially to the small units that do the fighting on the ground ... [the repeal] could disrupt unit cohesion ... and cost lives," he said.