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Ramon Johnson

NEWS: Hagel Apologizes, But Is It Too Late?

By December 21, 2012

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Should an "openly, aggressively" gay man represent the United States? Those are the comments made 14 years ago by the Chuck Hagel, the former Nebraska senator being considered by Pres. Obama for the Secretary of Defense post.

Hagel made the remarks during an interview on James C. Hormel, a Bill Clinton nominee to to be ambassador to Luxembourg in 1997. "They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay -- openly, aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel -- to do an effective job," Hagel told The Omaha World-Herald.

Hagel was unsuccessful in his campaign, as Hormel was given a recess appointment by Clinton and shipped to Luxembourg anyway. In 1999, Hagel told The New York Times that "the U.S. armed forces aren't some social experiment" when it comes to gays in the military.

Hagel's comments are coming back full circle now that he's been shortlisted for top Pentagon post. The White House says Pres. Obama hasn't made a decision about the job yet. Surely the president is considering the consequences of being on the wrong side of the rainbow.

The New York Times reports that Hagel was granted a zero score by the Human Rights Campaign on his LGBT support record in the Senate.

Hagel apologized on Friday:

"My remarks 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 L.G.B.T. Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights."

Are his new sentiments enough for forgiveness or has Hagel already shown his loyalties?
Comments
December 26, 2012 at 3:50 pm
(1) John Lawrence says:

I’m calling bull on Chuck Hagel’s so-called apology. His comments about Ambassador Hormel weren’t insensitive. They were openly and aggressively bigoted and homophobic. (Here are his comments for the record, “Ambassadorial posts are sensitive. They are representing America. They are representing our lifestyles, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel to do a better job.) And his bigotry wasn’t just limited to words. Hagel helped keep Hormel from receiving the Senate vote he deserved. Hagel consistently voted against expanding hate-crime protections to LGBT Americans. He earned a 0 percent for the 107th, 108th and 109th sessions of Congress on the Human Rights Campaign Congressional Scorecard. And Hagel even went on the record opposing the repeal of DADT. Hagel did real and lasting damage to the LGBT community while he was in the Senate and some half-assed apology for his “insensitive remarks” doesn’t begin to clear his record. Hagel is going to have to be a lot more forthcoming about his views on LGBT rights and the repeal of DADT before I’m willing to believe that he has left his bigoted views behind. Until he does so, I think the +The White House would be ill-advised to nominate Hagel for Defense Secretary. Likewise, the +Human Rights Campaign should require more proof before declaring Hagel an ally. Because, as I’m sure Sen. Hagel would agree, being the Secretary of Defense is sensitive and being a bigot is an inhibiting factor to doing a good job.

December 26, 2012 at 6:20 pm
(2) PHIL says:

People who attempt to hide their true colours when they want to further their careers are despicable, however it’s too late for tis “chancer” who is a well know “homophobe”. His “principles” if that’s what they are, appear to be flexible, depending on when he wants support or not. Times change because new generations have a different and more intelligent, educated perspective but old dogs don’t learn new tricks. Obama would be making a big mistake to appoint this very narrow minded dinosaur.

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