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James Hormel Speaks Out About Chuck Hagel's Apology

Former ambassador to Luxembourg James Hormel spoke out today about former Senator Chuck Hagel's apology for remarks he made when Hormel was being considered for his position in 1998. Hagel had said that the fact that Hormel was "aggressively gay" would inhibit his ability to function as a U.S. ambassador.

Today, Hagel apologized in an attempt to preserve his viability as a nominee for Secretary of Defense, saying, “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.”

HormelWrites the WaPo's Greg Sargent: an interview this afternoon, the target of the 1998 slur, leading gay philanthropist James Hormel, told me he never received an apology from Hagel himself, questioned the sincerity of the apology, and said the incident should still raise questions about whether Hagel is the right man to oversee the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell.

“I have not received an apology,” Hormel, who is a major figure in Democratic politics, told me. “I thought this so-called apology, which I haven’t received, but which was made public, had the air of being a defensive move on his part.” Hormel added that the apology appeared to have been given “only in service of his attempt to get the nomination.”...

...Of Hagel’s comment, Hormel added: “If it were made today, it would be clearly disqualifying.”

Added Hormel on Facebook:

"Senator Hagel's apology is significant--I can't remember a time when a potential presidential nominee apologized for anything. While the timing appears self-serving, the words themselves are unequivocal--they are a clear apology. Since 1998, fourteen years have passed, and public attitudes have shifted--perhaps Senator Hagel has progressed with the times, too. His action affords new stature to the LGBT constituency, whose members still are treated as second class citizens in innumerable ways. Senator Hagel stated in his remarks that he was willing to support open military service and LGBT military families. If that is a commitment to treat LGBT service members and their families like everybody else, I would support his nomination."

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  1. @ Yupp,

    First, concerning the story about the teenage girls who tried to push a lesbian girl off a cliff to her death: the authorities have charged them with attempted murder and they are being held on $25,000 bond. So what do you do? You get on a gay site and rant about how these criminals are being maligned by gay men. Tell you what, asswipe, you need to take your rant to Free Republic, where you belong.

    Second, how backstabbing of you to refuse to give Hispanics (most of whom are non-white Mexican-Americans) any credit for helping gay rights progress, claiming that only white deserve credit for progress. If you weren't so ignorant and racist, you'd know that Hispanics support marriage equality and gay rights by a substantially larger percentage than whites. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you! Any recently published opinion poll will point you in the right direction. Google is your friend here, so learn how to use it. After you do that, find your way back to Free Republic. Certainly you have some anti-Hispanic, anti-immigration rant to contribute. Your pals at Free Republic miss you. Buh-bye.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | Dec 22, 2012 1:25:11 PM

  2. Artie : I actually do know, that in NYC anyway, Hispanics/Latinos in some polls have shown themselves a few points higher, yes, than whites in supporting same-sex marriage. Secondly, you better read how the rest of that case with the girls in Kentucky turned out. Do you think I'd be callling for apology if those girls had actually been guilty?? What if it was your own sister grown men here went after like that (asswipe?)

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 22, 2012 1:37:05 PM

  3. @ Yupp,

    It occurs to me that when you irrationally claim that only whites deserve credit for gay rights progress (in spite of an even greater level of support from Hispanics), you're simply mimicking your mommy and daddy and their hatred of the largely mixed-race population of Mexican-Americans. Did it ever occur to you that your mommy and daddy don't like you either? And yes, I'm white, you asswipe, so don't try and pull that card on me. Just get yourself a map of the Internet and find your way home to Free Republic… sometime really soon.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | Dec 22, 2012 1:39:00 PM

  4. And, there you go folks, showing the nature of the gay ghetto . Even AFTER the truth of that case came out (that the girls were friends of the lesbian, whose mother lied about the whole case), Artie pretends that last chapter never happened, and that those girls deserved having grown men email them with threats of mutilation to their genitals. For the still-sane young guys coming onto Towleroad: not ALL men-who-like-men are like that, but...beware...there's a large percentage of vicious characters out there.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 22, 2012 1:42:09 PM

  5. I'm a grown man and couldn''t care less if mommmy and daddy don't like me. And my lovers have been from mestizos to all-Caucasian South Americans, so don't even try to educate me on Spanish-America.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 22, 2012 1:44:21 PM

  6. @ Yupp,

    Since this thread is about Hagel and Hormel, and the story about the teens in Kentucky is so WILDLY off-topic, I didn't notice that the post about Kentucky was from 2010. You win the point about the story from Kentucky, but what kind of grudge do you have to bring up a two-year-old story? Why does it upset you that people have the nerve to criticize Hagel, even though they just want to know if he's still a bigot? Sounds like a reasonable concern to me.

    Did I say you win the point about the story from Kentucky? You sure don't win any points for stabbing loyal Hispanic allies in the back by saying that only whites deserve credit for gay rights progress. I suppose you mean to diss non-white Mexicans who are one of the most pro-gay demographics in the country, perhaps tied with American Jews. I'm sure they would thank you… for nothing.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | Dec 22, 2012 1:53:03 PM

  7. I apologize to Hispanics, but I don't think they'd care if I left them out because of the point I was making. They're not that childish. My point was about black support (or non-support) for same-sex rights, and the fact that Towle and Belonsky have joined with homophobic black hate groups as long as they were going after mutually-hated targets (like half-Jewish Reid Seligmann in the Duke lacrosse case).

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 22, 2012 1:57:39 PM

  8. I don't give a f--k about Hagel, but listening to gays criticize him is like hearing Stalin criticizing Hitler for human rights abuse.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 22, 2012 1:59:07 PM

  9. And, Artie, you are so sickly entrenched by now in the gay ghetto that if somebody said John Wayne Gacy really belonged in prison you'd scream, "You belong with the New Republic !!!!" So you are not even thinking, you are just gay-reacting.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 22, 2012 2:03:49 PM

  10. Only a few short years ago, your criticism of American blacks was accurate. I've always thought of Andy Towle as fair-minded, and I don't know if he and Belonsky were cynical about not criticizing homophobia in the black community. But if you mean gay bloggers in general, I would point you to Aravosis and other gay commenters on AmericBlog who were never the least bit shy about calling American blacks on homophobia.

    My modest proposal is that you assess the country as of today, rather than several years ago. Black support for marriage equality and gay rights in general is now (finally, at long last) at about the same percentage as white support. The world moves on, which is fine with me.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | Dec 22, 2012 2:08:53 PM

  11. Artie : Belonsky refuses to even mention if there's an African-American gaybashing in NYC. Every other gay blog will grudgingly mention it, Belonsky will ignore it like it never happened. Now, that's pathetic but...still, I'll understand if some blogers still want to pretend they're college students and that all minorities are linked together as allies against...whoever. It's when they actually make the effort to try to hurt innocent people, to try to make those beliefs a reality, that it's unacceptable.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 22, 2012 2:22:04 PM

  12. Yupp, the reference to Free Republic was out of exasperation with the anti-immigration, anti-Mexican rants that are all too common on the Internet. I'm glad to know you're not an anti-immigration partisan. The "Free Republic" comment was also a reference to the Kentucky story, which of course, happened during the past week, and as a result, the girls are still out on bond. (AFTER ALL, Yupp, that was the link you provided me with.) But surprise! It didn't happen during the past week; it happened two years ago! You'll forgive me for being caught by surprise.

    Posted by: Artie_in_Lauderdale | Dec 22, 2012 2:23:56 PM

  13. Artie : At least you actually looked at the link and tried to discuss it, I'll grant you that. Most gays just want to hide from all responsiblity in GayGhettoLand and say "Take your meds" or something they think is witty, ignoring very real (innocent) people (even allies) out there who suffer at the hands of what certain gay activists do.

    Posted by: Yupp | Dec 22, 2012 2:30:15 PM

  14. @J/Little Kiwi: You don't know s*it about me. I am and have been for decades an out and proud gay man. I am very much involved in the gay community and volunteer at an LGBT Community Center. I don't need a homo fascist like you telling me that I am not worthy to comment on LGBT topics. You are the kind of mean spirited intollerant authoritarian demagogue who drives people away from supporting our cause. So F*CK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 22, 2012 6:49:09 PM

  15. @Yupp: I don't agree with much of what you post, but anyone who sticks it to the devious homo fascist Little Kiwi and all his aliases can't be all bad! I am glad you realize that much of your debate has been with Little Kiwi and his many hateful and hurtful aliases.

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 22, 2012 6:59:10 PM

  16. I support Chuck Hagel and hope he is nominated to be Secretary of Defense. Hagel is a decorated combat veteran who supports military cuts and a less aggressive foreign policy, which would be a relief over what we have seen over the last 4 years. I really don’t care what he said over a decade ago about an ambassador. And I could care less about his HRC rating as senator.

    Posted by: James | Dec 22, 2012 10:03:25 PM

  17. I support Chuck Hagel and hope he is nominated to be Secretary of Defense. Hagel is a decorated combat veteran who supports military cuts and a less aggressive foreign policy, which would be a relief over what we have seen over the last 4 years. I really don’t care what he said over a decade ago about an ambassador. And I could care less about his HRC rating as a senator.

    Posted by: James | Dec 22, 2012 10:04:27 PM

  18. Hormel is the heir of one of the uglier industrial families in the country. I'll worry about whether he deserves an apology when he apologizes for his family's destruction of meat packing unions and their continuing exploitation of illegals in the industry. Before Hormel busted the unions, the average wage was in the area of $25 per hour. After they finished, the wage is federal minimum for horrendously ugly work.

    Posted by: Larry McD | Dec 22, 2012 10:59:58 PM

  19. I just read some of Hagel's comments and even for 1998 they were severe and ignorant. Reading his commentary on gays was actually horrible. His words were heavy, powerful and hate laced.

    Posted by: CortelDonx | Dec 23, 2012 6:53:52 AM

  20. In 2001, Hagel said he's proud of DADT passing and having done his part to help it pass years earlier. He later stated that gays shouldn't be freely allowed to sate they are gay in an institution like the military because it's not a social experiment, and if they don't like it, they should stay out of it.

    These comments were made in the NY Times, and years after the 1998 anti gay crusade he was on.

    He's changed or he's in need of a bigger paycheck?

    Posted by: Donald Yebet | Dec 23, 2012 6:55:48 AM

  21. No thanks. No bigot needs to be handed this position. Gay rights = human rights. Next candidate!

    Posted by: Gio | Dec 23, 2012 7:05:45 AM

  22. Hagel does not have the temperament to be Defense Sec'y.

    Posted by: LincolnLounger | Dec 23, 2012 10:11:25 AM

  23. Chuck Hagel will make an excellent Sec of Defense. He is a wounded Vietnam war veteran who believes that U.S. military intervention in foreign countries should be the last resort. For this reason the "chicken hawk" neocons are running ads trying to block his nomination. As to his earlier positions on LGBT issues, that was then and this is now. In the last two decades many people have made the journey from opposition to full equality for LGBT people to supporting equality. Remember it was Pres Clinton who signed DADT and DOMA. He is now a supporter of full equality for Gay people. President Obama took quite some time to evolve on his position on same sex marriage, now he is a strong supporter of it. Hagel says he now supports "open service" and equal treatment for LGBT people in the military. I believe we should forgive Hagel for his past opposition to gays. I also believe that we should not forget, We should watch his performance as Sec of Defense and make sure he is following through on his new support for LGBT equality,

    Posted by: andrew | Dec 23, 2012 3:30:51 PM

  24. Sorry, but how dare comments tell others to keep quit and accept what we're get'n - cause it better than we had.

    I was raised north east of New Orleans. I heard this for the first 22 years of my life. Not again.

    Posted by: phil | Jan 7, 2013 2:08:09 PM

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