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James Hormel, the First Out Gay Ambassador, Speaks Out About DOMA, LGBT Rights: VIDEO


James Hormel, who was appointed United States Ambassador to Luxembourg by President Bill Clinton in 1999, and was the first openly gay ambassador ever to serve, spoke with ABC News about his new book Fit to Serve, as well as DOMA, and what he sees as the #1 problem for LGBT rights today.

Says Hormel: "The number one problem today as I see it is that people think that being gay is a matter of choice, and they somehow distinguish gay people as having made a choice to be tormented by their society."

Hormel calls DOMA “the most heinous piece of civil rights legislation in a century.”


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  1. Bravo for Hormel. He's right. The notion that being gay is a choice is at the root of most every facet of discrimination vs. the LGBT community by mainstream society. It enables people to to label gays as less than human and thus, deny rights and freedoms.

    Posted by: William | Nov 14, 2011 2:04:47 PM

  2. Actually it doesn't matter whether homosexuality is a choice or not. The fact remains that it isn't the government's job to take such a moral stance and discriminate against those who are gay, whether they choose it or not. Either make a secular argument which will stick (every one to date has failed miserably) against gay marriage or face up to it that you are discriminating based upon religious belief which is strictly prohibited by the 1st & 14th Amendments.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Nov 14, 2011 2:24:03 PM

  3. JOHNAGJ, actually, to our foes, it does make a difference as to whether it's a choice or not. They, and many in the GOP in particular, believe it is. As long as that remains, we'll NEVER make any further progress until that old chestnut is put to bed, permanently. With a republican in the White House, we'll get nowhere fast. Even if DOMA were to reach the SCOTUS, I'm not convinced that five very conservative catholic justices would consider the 1st or 14th amendments to overturn it. Just look what it did with the Citizens United. It ruled that corporations are persons and as such, can donate as much as they want to buy an election.

    Posted by: Robert in NYC | Nov 14, 2011 3:04:07 PM

  4. Politics, religion, and being a bigot are a choice. Being gay is not.

    Posted by: Todd | Nov 14, 2011 3:07:52 PM

  5. Being gay is a choice I made at the age of twelve because I'm a masochist and looked forward to the daily taunts, the name calling, the bullying, the beatings, being pantsed and all the other terrors of being different in a small town and a Catholic upbringing. YEAH, RIGHT!

    Posted by: Bill Cooney | Nov 14, 2011 3:23:53 PM

  6. @Robert in NYC, I agree with JOHNAGJ. No where in our Constitution does it say that we must make a choice as to whether we are gay or straight, and then, based on that choice, we will be discrimated against. I'm quite certain our Constitution guarantees equal rights for all.

    Posted by: oliver | Nov 14, 2011 4:01:45 PM

  7. @JOHNAGJ thank you, you have articulated so well what many of us have come to realize. The no "choice" argument is coming from a losing defensive position based upon a false premise.

    Posted by: Phineas Talbot | Nov 14, 2011 4:05:13 PM

  8. "The no "choice" argument is coming from a losing defensive position based upon a false premise"


    could you elaborate a little? What's the "false premise"?

    Posted by: Derrick from Philly | Nov 14, 2011 4:19:16 PM

  9. He is right about the gay as choice issue- this goes back to the ridiculous gay is a lifestyle choice- as if homosexuality was something you pick as whim at Macy's

    Posted by: jaragon | Nov 14, 2011 5:44:06 PM

  10. The false premise is that by entering into the specious argument created by the radical right you are implicitly agreeing with the obvious outcome: if someone's homosexuality were somehow a choice, then their right to exist as they are is called into question. The government would then be allowed to eliminate or punish these individuals because of that "choice". This goes against everything America stands for.

    Posted by: Phineas Talbot | Nov 14, 2011 6:32:18 PM

  11. @RobertinNYC: I understand what you are saying, but it's not really the religious right I care about. They will continue to oppose us regardless because Jesus supposedly tells them to. Not everyone in the general public is going to agree about whether homosexuality is a choice or not, I know for myself and probably all gays it certainly wasn't. Fine. Let's say that the best evidence seems to indicate that there isn't a conscious choice involved and dogginit, we just don't know for sure why homosexuality exists. Yet the reasoning behind their arguments for why whether it's a choice or not is what should be hammered on. They stem from religious doctrine, not from a sound secular, legal or scientific argument. That is a violation of the 1st & 14th Amendments as government cannot base it's laws on religious preference in discriminating against others.

    Posted by: JohnAGJ | Nov 14, 2011 7:08:58 PM

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