Right now James Hormel isn’t putting much stock into Chuck Hagel’s apology.
In 1998 when Hormel was nominated to be the US ambassador to Luxembourg, he earned the ire of the then senator.
‘Ambassadorial posts are sensitive,’ Hagel said to the Omaha World Herald in 1998. ‘They are representing America. They are representing our lifestyles, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be — openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do a better job.’
‘I have not received an apology,’ Hormel, a major figure in Democratic politics, said to the newspaper. ‘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 he thought Hagel’s mea culpa was offered ‘only in service of his attempt to get the nomination.’
Hagel, who was a long time supporter of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, added he is now an advocate of open service. Gay rights organizations applauded these words and his apology.
‘We are pleased that Senator Hagel recognized the importance of retracting his previous statement about Ambassador Hormel and affirming his commitment to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell repeal and LGBT military families,’ OutServe-SLDN executive director Allyson Robinson said in a statement. ‘We look forward to learning more about his commitment to full LGBT military equality as this nomination and confirmation process unfolds.’
Chad Griffin, the Human Rights Campaign president, echoed Robinson adding any future leader of the Defense Department must take into account LGBT military families.
‘The next Defense Secretary should get off to a fast start and ensure LGBT military families have access to every possible benefit under the law,’ Griffin said in a statement. ‘Every day these families continue to face unfair treatment and the Secretary can take meaningful action to remedy this discrimination.’