Anonymous Group Says Hagel Is Too Antigay for Defense Post
By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com January 20 2013 2:59 PM ET
An anonymous group going by the name Use Your Mandate is urging senators to reject former senator Chuck Hagel's nomination for secretary of Defense because he is "antiwoman, antichoice, anti-Israel, antigay, and pro-assault weapon."
The group is choosing to remain anonymous because many of those involved are allies of the Obama administration, according to The Huffington Post. The group is running television and Web ads to spread its message and has sent a mailer to 350,000 people illustrating Hagel's views.
Hagel's nomination has met with mixed reactions from LGBT organizations. Hagel has been conducting damage control after comments resurfaced that he made regarding the 1998 confirmation of gay ambassador James Hormel. The Nebraska senator told his hometown newspaper that Hormel may be too "aggressively gay" to become an ambassador but has since apologized.
He also said he supported the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" and that he would ensure that all service members could access equal benefits "under current law." However, as reported earlier this week, same-sex partners and families of service members currently have very limited rights because of the federal Defense of Marriage Act.
"Never in his life, in any public capacity, has he done anything in the positive department for gay rights," a source told The Huffington Post. "Everything that the group is doing is aimed at starting this discussion, and if he doesn't meet the criteria and can't answer some very basic questions with some familiarity and make some commitments that are really no different than the president's really, then what's the point? ... What did we fight this election for? Is this the best that we can do?"