Gay groups react to the news that
President Barack Obama is likely to nominate Chuck Hagel, a former
senator from Nebraska and Vietnam veteran, for defense secretary.
Citing White House officials, the Los
Angeles Times reported on Friday that the announcement
could come as early as Monday.
Gay groups have criticized Hagel's
views on gay rights.
One incident from 1998 has captured the
most attention. In that year, then-Senator Hagel opposed James
Hormel's nomination as U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, saying Hormel
was a bad fit because he's “openly, aggressively gay.”
Last month, Hagel, a Republican,
apologized in a statement for the comments: “My comments 14 years
ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the
totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel
and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil
rights. I am fully supportive of 'open service' and committed to
LGBT military families.”
The apology failed to mollify gay GOP
group Log Cabin Republicans, which took out a full-page ad in The
New York Times calling Hagel “wrong on gay rights.”
Hagel “wrong on gay rights,” gay GOP group says.)
Also not appeased was former
Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank. Frank argued that Hagel had a
history of “aggressively bigoted opposition” to gay rights.
“He voted consistently against
fairness for LGBT people and there does not seem to be any evidence
prior to his effort to become Secretary of Defense of any apology or
retraction of his attack on James Hormel,” Frank
The nation's leading group representing
LGBT troops, OutServe-SLDN, said it accepted Hagel's apology but
wanted to see concrete actions.
“It will now be incumbent upon him
during the nomination and confirmation process to lay out
demonstrable actions he will take to support that commitment [to LGBT
troops and their families],” said Allyson Robinson, the group's