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Tue Jan 29, 2013, 04:03 PM

JAMES HORMEL: A Chuck Hagel for Our Time

The nation’s first openly gay ambassador, James Hormel, explains why he now supports the Senate confirmation of a man who helped block his own confirmation.

BY JAMES HORMEL JANUARY 29 2013 4:30 AM ET

In 1997, when Chuck Hagel took his seat as a newly elected member of the United States Senate, our country was a less friendly place.

The U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Bowers v. Hardwick, which held that private, consensual homosexual acts violated sodomy laws, was still in effect. The malevolent "don't ask, don't tell" military regulations had been in force for three years. The so-called Defense of Marriage Act, a 20th-century variation on the Dred Scott case, had just been enacted by Congress and signed by President Clinton. Many states still applied criminal laws to homosexual acts.

What a difference 16 years can make! In 2003, Lawrence v. Texas overturned the Hardwick ruling and invalidated all state sodomy statutes. That same year, the Massachusetts Supreme Court acknowledged the right of same-sex couples to marry. In 2011, "don't ask, don't tell" was repealed.

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In other words, times and minds have changed.

Hagel has taken stock of his own past comments. Regarding disparaging remarks he made about me in an Omaha World-Herald interview, at the time I sought Senate confirmation to become America’s first openly gay ambassador, he issued an apology. “My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive,” he said. “They do not reflect my views.” He added, ”I am fully supportive of 'open service' and committed to LGBT military families." He subsequently elaborated on his support for LGBT equality and for amending the applicable military regulations and benefits for families.

MORE...

http://www.advocate.com/commentary/2013/01/29/op-ed-chuck-hagel-our-time

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Reply JAMES HORMEL: A Chuck Hagel for Our Time (Original post)
Purveyor Jan 2013 OP
Bluenorthwest Jan 2013 #1
geek tragedy Jan 2013 #2

Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Wed Jan 30, 2013, 07:25 AM

1. If he actually states his support for full equality, without any weasle words

" he will need to state clearly his willingness to achieve full equality for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation or identity."
If he clearly states unmitigated support for full equality (that means marriage and the works) for everyone at the hearings, then he will just be a Republican, anti choice crusader who voted for the Iraq War.
I don't support Republicans for any office. Hagel will take us to war just as he did in Iraq.
I do look forward to hearing Mr Hagel's clear, precise and unmitigated support for full marriage rights, which is the very least he can do. He needs to apologize to all gay people for saying it is an inhibiting factor to be gay in terms of serving one's country. The arrogant bigotry of that statement will not wipe away without specific, exacting apology and penance from this Republican. He could apologize to the Iraqi people as well, he killed so many of them for no good reason, because he listened to Gen Powell, and to Bush, and shouted WMD!!!!

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Response to Purveyor (Original post)

Thu Jan 31, 2013, 12:27 AM

2. That must have been some personal apology Hagel gave him.

Hormel was initially very skeptical about Hagel's conversion to the cause of equal rights.

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