Yuma, Arizona Mayor Al Krieger says he spoke from the heart in a Memorial Day speech when he said "I cannot believe that a bunch of limp-wristed, lacy-drawed people could do what those men have done in the past" while criticizing efforts to repeal the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy on homosexuality.
Over a week after those comments, Krieger said there's nothing he would change.
"I'm reluctant to compare myself to George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, but I did get some feedback, and I don't think I said anything different than what they would have said," he said.
Krieger used part of the speech to echo concerns over "Don't ask, Don't tell" getting repealed.
Created in the mid 1990s by the Clinton administration, the law prohibits gays and lesbians from serving openly in the military.
Congress is now working to repeal the law.
Army veteran and human rights campaign activist Jarrod Chlapowski says a repeal is a must.
"Gays and lesbians have been serving in the military since this country was created and they've been able to do it quite capably. But there is this extra burden that is placed on them that just doesn't go along with military principals," Chlapowski said. "It encourages lying when integrity is so crucial to building bonds and trust and cohesion."
Krieger doesn't see it that way.
"There is an issue currently in the military with homosexuals serving on the battlefield and I think it's going to be detrimental to men on the battlefield to have that conflict with sexual preference," he said. "There's no place for that. There's no place for that. We're in a battle here in America. We're in a war, here in America, and we've been involved in many wars. And we need solid, strong men, not pacifists, to fight those battles."
As a gay veteran he's offended by Mayor Krieger's stance.
"It's deliberately offensive an inaccurate characterization of gay and lesbian service members that do serve this country honorably everyday," he argued.
The Human Rights Campaign, a Washington D.C. based group that boasts itself as the largest gay, lesbian and transgender civil rights organization in the nation, estimates that more than 13,000 gay and lesbian troops have been expelled from the military under "Don't ask, Don't tell".
As for Krieger's speech, he said he never meant to offend anyone.
"It wasn't a prepared speech, it came from my heart and that's the way I feel about things. And some people don't agree with the way I feel about things. And that's fine, they don't have too," he said.
The Human Rights Campaign estimates that 4,000 gay troops decide not to re-enlist each year because they don't want to have to lie to themselves and comrades.