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01/08/2013

Video: Donnelly, Fischer say Hagel's apology for saying something anti-gay makes him too pro-gay

by Jeremy Hooper

In 1998, Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel attempted to discredit former ambassador James Hormel (while still a nominee) by labeling him "aggressively gay." Hagel has apologized for the comments, and the Obama administration is encouraging LGBT advocates to accept what they say is a sincere apology. Some have accepted; others are still on the fence.

Not on the fence, however, are aggressively anti-gay activists Bryan Fischer and Elaine Donnelly. To them, it's Hagel's apology that poses the real problem to ours, a world that includes LGBT people within its natural realm:

Look, I get why people like Elaine and Bryan, both of whom collect a paycheck off of stirring up anti-LGBT animus, would be annoyed that a headline-grabbing figure like Chuck Hagel saw a need to apologize for his past misstatements. The public turnaround from a onetime Republican senator shows that anti-gayness is increasingly not okay in public life. Anti-gayness is decidedly not okay in public service, except on the far-right. This kind of thing threatens hosts like Bryan, who need listening audiences that think their views are winning ones, and surely worries someone like Elaine, who has dedicated her past two decades of policy work around keeping gays down and out.

But to suggest that Hagel's apology for past eyebrow-raisers makes him too pro-LGBT to be supportable?! Puh-leeze! If there is any remaining LGBT controversy attached to this nomination, it involves lingering questions over whether this nominee still holds a belief that sees a gay man's simple choice to live his life openly as some sort of "aggressive" act. Maybe if Rick Santorum had owned the 2012 election cycle, then Elaine and Bryan would be on to something. That didn't happen. President Barack Obama won the election, and President Barack Obama has placed his stake in moving this country forward. That progress includes full LGBT equality. If Elaine and Bryan want to change this decidedly pro-equality course that America is on, then they shouldn't waste time with the Hagel nomination—they should be printing up Santorum/Bachmann 2016 signs!

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