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Chuck Hagel − or Barney Frank − for Secretary of Defense?

January 7, 2013
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When President Barack Obama first suggested that Chuck Hagel might be his choice for Secretary of Defense, some gay activists pledged to oppose the former senator because he is not sufficiently supportive of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) causes.  This gratuitous slap at President Obama, who indulges the same critics with LGBT Equality Month celebrations at the White House every June, should not be taken seriously.

LGBT attacks on Hagel center on his 1999 comments about James C. Hormel, President Bill Clinton's pick for ambassador to Luxembourg.  All ambassadorial nominees undergo extensive background checks.  When information about the wealthy food company heir's aggressive advocacy of LGBT causes came to light, Hagel was one of many senators who objected to the controversial nomination.    

Fourteen years later, street theater specialists GetEQUAL and gay activist Log Cabin Republicans are opposing Hagel's nomination for Secretary of Defense, despite his unnecessary apology for comments about nominee Hormel.  As the activists see it, now that Congress has repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the next Secretary of Defense should impose the full rainbow-spectrum of LGBT law on our military.  This includes demands for transgenders in the military that GetEQUAL mentioned in their news release

LGBT fanatics are difficult to please, but if President Obama wants to make them happy, he could change his mind and nominate Barney Frank for Defense Secretary.  He could even invite gay pride festival performers like the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence to march in the Inaugural Parade.  Such pandering probably would not work, however.  In the name of "tolerance," LGBT leaders demand intolerance, starting with military chaplains who claim constitutional rights of religious liberty. 

President Obama endorsed that attitude when he signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act on January 2. The signing statement criticized as "ill-advised" a modest conscience clause in the bill, designed to protect religious liberty for chaplains.  Under the administration's interpretation of LGBT Law, chaplains and people of faith are supposed to check their beliefs about sexual morality inside the military chapel door. 

Members of the Senate have many reasons to oppose the nomination of Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense, but criticism from the LGBT Left is not one of them.  Indeed, conservative senators should be more troubled by Hagel's opportunistic apology, which equates LGBT causes with "civil rights," than they are by his not-unusual opposition to Bill Clinton's nomination of James C. Hormel as America's envoy to Luxembourg.

In 1998, most members of the Foreign Relations Committee, including Hagel, did not object to the wealthy nominee known as Gentleman Jim Hormel.   But in 1999, a number of senators raised legitimate questions about his suitability to be ambassador to Luxembourg. 

The controversy was less about the nominee's bisexual lifestyle (while married Hormel had five children) than it was about his open and aggressive activism for LGBT causes, which he funded with generous grants.  Hormel's philanthropy primarily benefited ultra-liberal groups like the Human Rights Campaign, now the largest LGBT activist group in the country.  Hormel co-founded the HRC to promote acceptance and normalization of homosexuality in all institutions of American life. 

He bestowed $500,000 on the San Francisco Main Library, which named the "James C. Hormel Gay and Lesbian Center" in his honor.  The facility reportedly provided to children grossly inappropriate materials and videos that promoted homosexual conduct as normal. 

Hormel pledged $600,000 to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), backed lawsuits against the Boy Scouts, and was a generous patron of the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).  He also gave education endowments of $1.5 million for a "Professorship in Social Justice" at his alma mater, Swarthmore College, earmarked with special attention to lesbian and gay-related issues. 

As reported by columnist Robert Novak at the time, Senator Robert Smith (R-NH) said of Hormel, "This is not a tolerance issue. This is a matter of advocacy of the gay lifestyle."  Senators James Inhofe (R-OK) and Tim Hutchinson (R-AR) joined Smith in putting formal holds on the nomination.  Months passed before President Clinton sent Hormel to Luxembourg with a recess appointment in June 1999. 

According to the Washington Times in November 1999, the Foreign Relations Committee extracted "detailed assurances before and after Mr. Hormel's recess appointment last June that the 66 year-old envoy and his 36 year-old male companion would not become a poster couple for American homosexual activists in the heavily Catholic country (Luxembourg)."  Novak reported that Ambassador Hormel's 30 years-younger companion was Timothy Wu, national secretary of a Bay-area "gay techie" group called "Digital Queers."

The issue now is not about Hormel − it's about intimidation.  LGBT Left leaders seem to think  that anyone who disagrees with their agenda should be denied election or appointment to high-level positions.  Capitulation to this type of intolerance would imply that persons who question or challenge LGBT activists and causes are, by definition, not suitable for public service.

When confirmation hearings begin, senators should ask the contrarian Republican tough questions about his views on Afghanistan, Iran, Israel, Africa, China, and Korea.  We need to know what he would do to maintain superiority in America's armed forces.  He should also be questioned about military/social issues, including LGBT law, non-remedial gender-based "diversity metrics," and feminist demands to force female soldiers into direct ground combat (infantry) battalions. 

With dangers increasing around the world, any nominee for Secretary of Defense should demonstrate good judgment on matters of national defense, not contrived correctness to keep LGBT critics at bay.

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