Barack Obama | Chuck Hagel | News | Valerie Jarrett

White House: 'Obama Believes Hagel's Statement of Apology' on Gay Rights - VIDEO


White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett on the White House blog:

Recently, some in the LGBT community have expressed concerns about Senator Hagel's past comments. In response, Senator Hagel issued a statement in which he apologized for comments that he made in the 1990s, and affirmed both his commitment to LGBT civil rights as well as his support for open service and the families of gay and lesbian service members.

One of the great successes of the LGBT civil rights movement is that it provides the space and opportunity for people to change their hearts and minds, to right past wrongs, and, over time, to evolve. The President believes Senator Hagel's statement of apology, and his commitment to ensuring that all service members and their families are treated equally. The President would not have chosen him unless he had every confidence that, working together, they will continue to ensure that our military and DoD civilian workforce are as welcoming, inclusive, and respectful as possible.

Watch the Hagel nomination ceremony, AFTER THE JUMP...

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  1. Well said. I believe in President Obama.

    Posted by: trees | Jan 7, 2013 2:26:37 PM

  2. I hope Hagel has, indeed, had a change-of-heart. Time will tell -- we'll be watching his actions. I believe in the old Russian proverb: "Trust, but verify."

    Posted by: Alex Parrish | Jan 7, 2013 2:27:30 PM

  3. I'd be much more apt to believe in the apology if it didn't come a decade later, when it was time to appoint Hagel. That said, I don't care all that much, since I firmly believe the President is on our side and I sincerely doubt Hagel will do anything, if confirmed, to set the President back.

    Posted by: Ryan | Jan 7, 2013 2:29:41 PM

  4. I, too, agree. Many people I know personally have changed their beliefs after being educated and allowing themselves to evolve. I don't see why this is any different.

    Posted by: C.J. | Jan 7, 2013 2:29:43 PM

  5. Ambassador Hormel has accepted his apology and moved on - time for the rest of us to do the same.

    Posted by: antb | Jan 7, 2013 2:32:46 PM

  6. My parents and four brothers all changed their views on gay issues when I came out. If Hagel wants the job, he'll at least pay proper lip service.

    Also, the secretary of defense affects my life in precisely no way.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 7, 2013 2:58:11 PM

  7. Again, the prez sets polic, SecDef implements it. This ia another manufactured "scandal." Face it, there are people that blame Obama if a bird shits on their car. I don't care for many of his past statements on climate change, to get real about something real, but imo the prez should get cabinet people he wants to work with unless there is something grossly wrong with them.

    Posted by: melvin | Jan 7, 2013 3:02:27 PM

  8. Oh, and in that still photo one guy looks like he's going to cry and two look like they want to punch someone.

    Posted by: Paul R | Jan 7, 2013 3:16:28 PM

  9. Obama would likely have gone the other way on this if Hagel had accused an African-American of being aggressively black.

    Posted by: Bill | Jan 7, 2013 3:41:43 PM

  10. Full agreement with previous posters above;coming out, being unafraid of who and what we are has changed my life and much more importantly I have seen such a sea change in society's attitude to us that is truly astonishing.
    From Oscar's "Love that dare not speak its name" to having a Gay Theatre Festival, to a Gay Film Festival, to makingthe ending of discrimination in the work place the law in many countries (soon the USA).......our whole place in society is open and assertive and in MHO much farther along the road than I ever dared to expect.

    It's not just Hagel but all educated society has evolved........and people deserve to be praised for that evolution. Log Cabin Republicans may want to burn everyone at the steak but shouldn't that be reserved for those you have actively campaigned to deprive us of our civil rights ?
    I suspect a touch of insincerity and double speak in their full-page ads.

    Posted by: JackFknTwist | Jan 7, 2013 4:26:59 PM

  11. "THERE ARE NO ATHIESTS IN FOXHOLES"—and "No one is ever homophobic when they suddenly need embraced by the Gay Community." But the bigger issue than whether we can NOW trust Hagel is that we have no reason to trust THE PERSON WHO TELLS US TO. For despite Mr. Obama promising in 2007 that, “As president, I will work with Congress [to] make nondiscrimination the official policy of the U.S. military,” despite his declaring in 2010 that repeal alone won’t be enough, that there must be, “implementation of anti-harassment policies and protocols for dealing with abusive or discriminatory behavior as we transition our armed forces away from a policy of discrimination,” despite HRC having urged the Administration in January 2011 to do just that, despite SLDN having REPEATEDLY done the same since February 2011, he has DONE NOTHING to make LGB service members equal IN the military; NOTHING to order that the Pentagon stop arbitrarily denying them the protections of the Military Equal Opportunity Program which are automatically given to straight service members on the basis of race, gender, ethnicity, and religious or political affiliation; DONE NOTHING to order that the Pentagon stop arbitrarily denying married gay military couples benefits which are unequivocally NOT banned by DOMA.

    THEREFORE, the agenda of our PAID advocates in Washington shouldn’t just be asking for Pie-in-the-Sky promises from Hagel that the man he would replace as Secretary of Defense did NOTHING about, but DEMANDING that our self-anointed “Fierce Advocate” FINALLY fulfill HIS promises to LGB Americans defending everyone else’s equality!!! THAT has NOTHING to do with the confirmation process. Today, Mr. President, TODAY!

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 7, 2013 4:33:19 PM

  12. President Obama and Valerie Jarrett are being disingenuous at best. I simply do not believe that Hagel has undergone a conversion. It just is not plausible.

    What has Hagel done since attacking Hormel's homosexuality all those years ago? Where are the pointers towards a change in his attitude to homosexuality? I haven't seen any. Hagel issued a hastily-written apology because he's nominated for Defense Secretary - anyone can do it and it does not indicate a change in attitude but, rather, a desire to quench criticism.

    Obama and Jarrett seem to have worked the GLBT community again. The President seems to think that he can offend us because there's no election and he doesn't need our money like did a few months ago.

    Posted by: stephen lucas | Jan 7, 2013 5:25:46 PM

  13. I agree that people change. Aside from his homophobic and other conservatice stances in the past (and for being a Republican for that matter) I like and respect Hagel for not towing the party line and for voicing well-considered opposition to our involvement in Iraq -- involvement that was orchestrated and promoted by a bunch of chickenhawks who, unlike Hagel and Kerry, never served in the military and put themselves in harm's way.
    However, all that said, during the confirmation hearings he should be asked about his new-found acceptance of gay men and women in the military so we can all judge the extent to which his opinions have change, and whether he will whole-heatedly use his power to support soldiers and fight against homophobia in the military. And he should be asked about this by a senator who has been supportive of gay soldiers -- not by right-winger who has suddenly and conveniently become concerned about gay issues.

    Posted by: MichaelJ | Jan 7, 2013 5:27:33 PM

  14. Stephen Lucas, gurl you sound so angry. So you personally gave money and voted for Obama and now feel that Hagel, and his comments from more than a decade ago, aren't legit?

    and be careful, honeybun, about demanding proof of action from others when you're not prepared to do the same for yourself.


    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 7, 2013 5:33:48 PM

  15. Little Kiwi,

    Don't be so confident. It is VERY easy for somebody to manufacture a pro-gay statement for reasons of political expedience.

    I agree that people's opinions on homosexuality change over time. However, I've seen nothing in Hagel that suggests a GENUINE evolution on the rights of gay people. All I see are his vile homophobic attacks on Hormel all those years ago and then, suddenly, a contrite statement just days before his nomination as Defense Secretary. It doesn't ring true.

    If Hagel wins the nomination, the rights of gay people serving in the military will be under threat. If this happens, Obama will be personally responsible.

    Posted by: stephen lucas | Jan 7, 2013 5:49:01 PM

  16. specifics, honeybun.

    are you hypothesizing that under Hagel DADT will be re-implemented? or something far more worse? will the US military become the Uganda of north american armed forces?

    is that your specific belief? that if Hagel is in we'll see gays kicked out of the military?

    please use specifics in your answers. kthanks.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 7, 2013 5:57:00 PM

  17. Little Kiwi,

    No, I'm not saying that DADT will be re-installed under Hagel. I'm saying that the prevailing atmosphere in the military will become less friendly towards gay servicemen and women. There are many ways in which this could be done at the floor level without re-instituting DADT.

    Posted by: stephen lucas | Jan 7, 2013 6:03:15 PM

  18. Ok, please specifically list those things. If you have an insight into this that people like me are apparently missing then you have a moral obligation to fill us in. :-)

    So, what specific changes are you saying Hagel will be bringing to the US military to make it less friendly toward gay and lesbian service members?

    Specifics, please.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 7, 2013 6:09:36 PM

  19. Little Kiwi,

    Would you be comfortable with a Tony Perkins or Bryan Fischer being nominated as Defense Secretary? On the basis of your "logic", it shouldn't really matter.

    A gay-hostile Defense Secretary will be less sensitive to gay people as a whole. That goes without saying.

    Posted by: stephen lucas | Jan 7, 2013 6:21:15 PM

  20. babydoll, attempt to use specifics.

    right now you sound like my senile great-aunt who hates Obama and doesn't trust him because (in her words) "he's a SOCIALIST!"

    But since you're now showing that you're either trolling or not that bright, i'll give you the benefit of the doubt and believe that you're not that bright.

    so i can help you.

    here we go, get ready for a crash course in Nuance.

    Perkins & Fisher continue to actively promote anti-gay bigotry and outright hatred...actively meaning they were doing it this morning. and they will not ever recant or apologize. why? because anti-gay bigotry is their main source of revenue.

    so far, you have your panties in a bunch over comments made by Hagel from more than a decade ago.

    so there's the difference. now, you claim that Hagel will bring about a lot of anti-gay bigotry in the military. specifically explain how he will do that.

    if you can't then you need to accept that your fears and arguments are, frankly, stupid.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 7, 2013 6:29:06 PM

  21. REPEAT: the issue is not what Hagel might change but what there's no reason to believe he WON'T change what needs to be: the official Second Class status of gay service members who are offically DENIED protections of the Military Equal Opportunity Program and partner benefits NOT banned by DOMA?

    WHY is there no reason to believe he will? Because—despite both HRC and SLDN virtually begging the President and the gay-friendly DEMOCRATIC Secretary of Defense Hagel would replace for the LAST TWO YEARS to reverse such arbitrary Pentagon discrimination—NOTHING has changed. Just like his refusal to order federal contractors to stop discriminating against LGBTs, on THIS subject, the fish still rots from the top down.

    Posted by: Michael Bedwell | Jan 7, 2013 6:42:41 PM

  22. so you're not afraid that he'll make things worse, but that he won't do enough to make things better?


    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 7, 2013 6:48:20 PM

  23. Little Kiwi,

    Take a chill pill, yoghurt.

    A homophobe like Hagel does not NEED to specify his policies. The process he is now undergoing is NOMINATION. There is NO need for specifics. You will NOT get any specifics from him.

    What we DO know is that he has a record of blatantly anti-gay positions. THAT is the ONLY reliable and reproducible record we have on Hagel. It is IMMUNE to spin from the Hagel camp and from Valerie Jarrett and from Obama. Spin from the White House does NOT undo Hagel's recorded opinions on gay people.

    Keep in mind this basic dictum: a person can easily hide his true intentions until he gets into a position of power. Once in power, he or she can wreak havoc with their true positions. Put this dictum in your heart.

    Posted by: stephen lucas | Jan 7, 2013 6:54:09 PM

  24. so i get no specifics from you, and none from him. uh...ok.

    look, nobody seems outright thrilled by this but that doesn't meant that y'all should running around insisting that the sky is falling.

    Posted by: LittleKiwi | Jan 7, 2013 7:02:34 PM

  25. I would believe the "growth" in an individual who comes to a greater awareness any day, before I would accept the words of the hideous individuals that spew hatred and bigotry every day in order to further their own careers in the House and Senate (in state and federal government legislatures.)

    Posted by: Michael | Jan 7, 2013 7:04:15 PM

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