Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel has been approved by the Senate as President Obama’s new Secretary of Defense, after a contentious confirmation process that saw some members of the LGBT community aligning with conservatives to question Hagel’s commitment to an inclusive military.
Initially outraged by homophobic statements Hagel made in the 1990s, many gay advocacy groups came around to endorse his appointment after Hagel apologized and pledged to secure the rights of LGBT military personnel.
In fact, Allyson Robinson, the executive director of the gay military organization OutServe-SLDN, called his approval “a win” for gays in the military:
We congratulate Senator Hagel for enduring an incredibly arduous confirmation process to become our next Secretary of Defense – this is a win for all service members, and for LGBT service members and their families especially.
We thank the Senator for his commitment to equal treatment and equal opportunity, and we urge him to take swift action to include our service members in non-discrimination and anti-harassment protections.