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Group Calls On Chuck Hagel to Lay Out Actions He'll Take to Support LGBT Military Families

In December, former Senator Chuck Hagel apologized for 1998 remarks he made about gay ambassador James Hormel and asserted his "commitment to LGBT military families". Today, in a statement to Buzzfeed, LGBT military group Outserve-SLDN called  it "incumbent" upon Hagel during the nomination process to disclose what actions he will take to demonstrate that commitment as Secretary of Defense.

HagelSaid the group's executive director Allyson Robinson:

Senator Hagel has said he is "committed to LGBT military families," so, if nominated and confirmed, he should immediately extend, via secretarial directive, all benefits available to married same-sex military couples and families while the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is still on the books. He said he is "fully supportive of open service," so he should extend military equal opportunity and nondiscrimination policies so that all qualified Americans who wish to serve this nation in uniform may do so without fear of harassment or discrimination.

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  1. This is what needs to be done. Challenge the man over his remarks of years ago and his alleged "regret" over having said those remarks.

    If this election has proven anything, it is that the LGBTQ community will not be the doormats for American society or ambitious American politicians anymore.

    You want to serve this country in a civilian office--elected or appointed? Then, by god, you had better come correct wHere LGBTQ people are concerned.

    No one can be allowed henceforth to use us as political fodder for bigotry. No one can be allowed to use us as voters of convenience and then turn his or her back on us once they get what they want--our votes.

    So, Chuck Hagel, step up. Explain. Answer the questions. And, if you don't answer the questions we LGBTQ people want to know--will you defend LGBTQ service members and their families from entrenched bigotry and discrimination that still exists in the military and society-at-large--then, step down.

    If you can't defend us as American citizens and our rights to equality before the law and our rights to serve our country willingly and with dignity, then you don't deserve to be The United States Secretary of Defense.

    Posted by: jamal49 | Jan 4, 2013 6:42:17 PM


  2. The biggest thing would be to blunt Section 533 of DoD funding; Todd Akin's final legacy THAT OBAMA AND HOUSE DEMOCRATS SIGNED ON TO!!!!!

    Posted by: Matt | Jan 4, 2013 7:27:57 PM


  3. He was a former military man and a Republican, so the 1988 stuff does not bother me IF he:
    -- meets with and satisfies Hormel
    -- makes a very plain statement that the end of DADT was correct and has worked well
    -- makes a very plain statement that he believes DOMA is wrong, because it discriminates against service members, and urging its repeal.

    Remember, folks, a man who served in Viet Nam and in Congress is going to get more done as Defense Secretary than a political hack like Rumsfeld.

    Posted by: Bob | Jan 4, 2013 7:28:15 PM


  4. @Jamal -- if he is appointed and does his duty, EXISTING regulations tell him to ensure fairness (except DOMA, and that is going to go soon).

    We are starting to get far enough that we do not need to do the "you damn well need to please us" thing, which seems petty. Obama is not going to appoint him without checking that out carefully.

    Posted by: Bob | Jan 4, 2013 7:34:13 PM


  5. Outserve-SLDN should be demanding Hagel withdraw his name from nomination. More and more the gay community is bending a** forward to say it's okay to screw us over and then issue a half-hearted apology because the guy wants a powerful position. Stop it! End this guy's bid for appointment NOW - TODAY!

    Posted by: OS2Guy | Jan 4, 2013 8:44:10 PM


  6. Would you trust this guy to have your back if you were in harm's way? Yeah he appologized but isn't that just a little too convenient. What took him so long to realize his comments about the ambassador were wrong? Seems more like he's trying to get the LGBT community to shut up and get out of his way. Has he really changed? Did Romney. Anyone for a crew cut? I don't know but I'm a little worried.

    Posted by: mark | Jan 4, 2013 9:46:23 PM


  7. @ Bob: You are not alone in your GROSS ignorance of reality; but that's no excuse. There are NO regulations to ensure fairness to gays IN the military. TO THE CONTRARY:

    1. In May 2010, the original version of the proposed repeal bill was GUTTED of its MANDATE for instituting nondiscrimination policies WITH repeal. And according to no less than Nancy Pelosi that was because OBAMA sided with SECDEF Gates’ demand it be removed, pressuring her and our other allies in Congress to accept it.
    2. So, it is OFFICIAL Pentagon policy that gay and lesbian troops are BANNED from the protections against harassment and discrimination in such things as duty assignments and performance evaluations under the Military Equal Opportunity Program AUTOMATICALLY provided to NONgay blacks, women, et al.
    3. And, it is OFFICIAL Pentagon policy that gay military couples are BANNED from receiving multiple benefits which are NOT required by DOMA. The most important of which is that even legally married gay military couples are arbitrarily banned from access to free military family housing.
    In JANUARY of 2011, a month after he signed the repeal bill, HRC called on the Administration to reverse 2 and 3. That February, SLDN wrote the President asking him to reverse 2, and in August of 2011 wrote SECDEF Panetta about 3. ALL of their requests were met with silence, thus, more than a year after repeal was implemented finally allowing gays ON the military bus, they still are forced to sit in the back.

    As for SLDN’s latest statement about Hagel, there is some contradiction in the statements quoted from Ms. Robinson. The first admirably calls on Hagel "DURING the nomination and confirmation process to lay out demonstrable actions he will take to support that commitment." The second refers to AFTER he's confirmed. Let's take one step at a time. In addition, it does not address his failure to apologize to Hormel directly nor apologize in any way for opposing pro-gay legislation such as our inclusion in hate crimes protections. Without that, their position is a cake half-baked, and, please forgive the mixed metaphors, but rather than extending MORE "credit" of trust to the Administration after its two-years of "bankruptcy" of action, they should be DEMANDING action NOW, not simply begging for more PROMISES of Pie in the Sky.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 4, 2013 10:32:18 PM


  8. "LGBT Group Takes Issue with Hagel Nomination, Urges Obama to Abandon." I'm sorry that the world can not cater to every perceived gay offense -- of the ever growing list. It's Obama who has to answer for this - or not. Sorry to rain on the parade, but it's pretty much the same world it's always been.

    Posted by: Gary | Jan 4, 2013 10:48:58 PM


  9. @Matt: Akin's original nonsense got severely watered down in the final bill to basically what is already in force.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Jan 4, 2013 11:20:59 PM


  10. Is Hagel the best choice?

    Posted by: mark | Jan 5, 2013 12:17:42 AM


  11. There are many reasons to oppose Chuck Hagel
    Hagel has no natural constituency, except perhaps for those who want a foreign and defense policy that is tougher on Israel and softer on Iran.

    Israel would be clear that Obama views the Jewish state with hostility. Iran would be clear that it has nothing serious to fear from the Obama administration.

    Nothing else can explain this odd nomination. Team Obama tried to couch it as a bipartisan act, inasmuch as Hagel was a Republican Senator. But key Republican Senators have made it clear that they don’t want Hagel at the Pentagon. Key Democrats have also failed to express enthusiasm over that prospect. Even Barney Frank opposes Hagel. If there’s a bipartisan consensus around Hagel, it’s that Obama should nominate someone else.

    If the President would like to abandon his election promises about stopping Iran's nuclear weapons program he should just say so.

    Trying to change it by just appointing Hagel will be understood well in the Senate and will
    not be accepted.

    The loss of the confirmation will seriously weaken the President.

    To me he is the stereotypical Archie Bunker type bigot. His policies have been anti gay (even now after his late and self serving apology he doesn't support equal benefits for gay military families.

    there are many ways a Secretary of Defense could help gay military families no matter how DOMA is decided and Hagel has not come out in favor of any of these.

    Reports to the contrary, LGBT equality is not yet a done deal in the military. There is still the matter of partner benefits. There still remain a handful of regulations that could be revised independent of the Defense of Marriage act that could bring some equity of compensation and benefits to gay and lesbian service members. but remain denied due only to Department of Defense foot-dragging:

    Included in the discretionary benefits currently denied are spousal identication cards, and shopping at the PX, the former cited in the Pentagon's own Working Group study as not requiring DOMA repeal to deliver.

    His remarks about the Jewish lobby having too much influence would cleary be seen as bigoted if you substitute any other
    minority group's lobby. Try NAACP or La Raza and see how long you would be considered.

    He is anti-African American (with a 17/100 rating from NAACP and admires Strom Thurmond as a great role model. anti Woman (vs choice and contraception)
    and
    Hagel has drawn additional heat from insiders who claim he lacks the credentials needed to manage a department as large and essential as the Pentagon.

    “Yes, Hagel has crazy positions on several key issues. Yes, Hagel has said things that are borderline anti-Semitism. Yes, Hagel wants to gut the Pentagon’s budget. But above all, he’s not a nice person and he’s bad to his staff,” said a senior Republican Senate aide who has close ties to former Hagel staffers.

    “Hagel was known for turning over staff every few weeks—within a year’s time he could have an entirely new office because nobody wanted to work for him,” said the source. “You have to wonder how a man who couldn’t run a Senate office is going to be able to run an entire bureaucracy.”

    Others familiar with Hagel’s 12 year tenure in the Senate said he routinely intimidated staff and experienced frequent turnover.

    “Chuck Hagel may have been collegial to his Senate colleagues but he was the Cornhusker wears Prada to his staff, some of whom describe their former boss as perhaps the most paranoid and abusive in the Senate, one who would rifle through staffers desks and berate them for imagined disloyalty,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser on Iran and Iraq. “He might get away with that when it comes to staffers in their 20s, but that sort of personality is going to go over like a ton of bricks at the Pentagon.”

    Multiple sources corroborated this view of Hagel.

    “As a manager, he was angry, accusatory, petulant,” said one source familiar with his work on Capitol Hill. “He couldn’t keep his staff.”

    “I remember him accusing one of his staffers of being ‘f—ing stupid’ to his face,” recalled the source who added that Hagel typically surrounded himself with those “who basically hate Republicans.”

    Sources expressed concern about such behavior should Hagel be nominated for the defense post. With competing military and civilian interests vying for supremacy, the department requires a skilled manager, sources said.

    “The Pentagon requires strong civilian control,” a senior aide to former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld told the Free Beacon. “It’s already swung back in favor of the military over the past five years. A new secretary of defense should push it back in its rightful place, but it’s doubtful Hagel would be that guy.”

    “It’s not clear that [Hagel] has the standing, the managerial prowess, or the willingness to gore some oxen,” said the source.

    One senior Bush administration official warned that Hagel is ill informed about many critical foreign policy matters.

    “He’s not someone who’s shown a lot of expertise on these issues,” said the source, referencing a recent Washington Post editorial excoriating Hagel’s record. “That [op-ed] was extraordinary.”

    “Only in Washington,” the official added, “can someone like [Hagel] be seen as a heavy weight. He’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer.”

    Hagel is likely viewed positively by the administration mainly because he is a Republican who often criticizes his own party, the source said.

    “He’ll dance to a tune played by the White House,” said the former official. “That I think is the real problem.”

    As lawmakers consider a deal to avoid sweeping budgets cuts and tax hikes, Hagel’s support for slashing spending at the Pentagon has irked many defense hawks.

    “This is a time when a secretary of defense needs to be raising hell about the sequestration cuts,” said the Rumsfeld aide. “It’s not clear that Hagel has any interest in picking that fight.”

    Hagel’s reluctance to chastise Iran also remains a central concern.

    As chief of the Pentagon it is expected he would avoid planning for a military intervention should Tehran refuse to end its clandestine nuclear enrichment program.

    “The military brass is already reluctant to offer up any military options on Iran even though it’s their job to have something on the books and to leave the options of the commander in chief open,” said the Rumsfeld aide. “Hagel will only reinforce these worrisome tendencies.”

    “Chances are he’ll view any legitimate effort to talk about military options with Iran as some plot by the ‘Israel Lobby’ to box him in,” the source said.

    There is no reason to believe his appointment would change Israeli policies.

    But there is a very strong likelihood that it would be a fatal blow to the chances of a negotiated settlement with Iran.

    Iran would have to conclude that it doesn't have to fear
    finishing it's nuclear weapons program or even continuing towards ICBM's pointing at America.

    President Obama should avoid the risk of loosing a confirmation vote over someone who's views on many major issues are opposite of the President's and instead appoint the better person Michelle Flornoy.

    Flournoy closely mirrors the previous stated policies of the President, the Democratic Party, and the American people.

    Posted by: Jean | Jan 5, 2013 3:27:15 AM


  12. Nice to see the white man get the same treatment as the black woman. O should just find more black candidates and really expose how racist our government remains.

    Posted by: DC Arnold | Jan 5, 2013 7:06:04 AM


  13. I've said it before and I'll say it again - the best thing Hagel could do for everyone, the LGBT, the Straight, the Military in general, and the United States as a whole is to go back to Nebraska and disappear off the radar completely.
    His insult to Hormel was only the tip of the LGBT iceberg. He voted in favor of DOMA and DADT as well. He was vocal in opposition to the repeal of DADT, and has spoken of his opposition to the repeal of DOMA.
    Enough already! I was unfortunate enough to have this jackass as a Senator when I still lived in Nebraska. He was an embarrassment to the State, and he will fair no better in a Cabinet post.

    Posted by: Mommie Dammit | Jan 6, 2013 7:02:09 AM


  14. The cynic in me would like for Hagel to be nominated. It will be delightful to compare footage of Republicans who used to adore him now saying he has no worth.

    Posted by: Diogenes Arktos | Jan 6, 2013 8:32:46 AM


  15. These are legitimate questions that former Sen Chuck Hagel will answer at his confirmation hearings. In the end I hope we have the strong anti-foreign military interventionists group of OBAMA-Kerry-Hagel as our antidote to the Washington Neocon interventionists!

    Posted by: andrew | Jan 6, 2013 9:35:22 AM


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