Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel is reputedly on the short list to replace Leon Panetta as Secretary of Defense. In 1998, Hagel opposed the appointment of James Hormel as Ambassador to Luxembourg because he was "aggressively gay". In an interview with a newspaper at the time, Hagel remarked :
They are representing our lifestyle, our values, our standards. And I think it is an inhibiting factor to be gay — openly aggressively gay like Mr. Hormel — to do an effective job.Fourteen years later, Hagel has conveniently apologized, stating recently
My comments 14 years ago in 1998 were insensitive. They do not reflect my views or the totality of my public record, and I apologize to Ambassador Hormel and any LGBT Americans who may question my commitment to their civil rights. I am fully supportive of ‘open service’ and committed to LGBT military families.Oh, all right then, carry on.
For the record, Ambassador Hormel is not impressed with Hagel's road to Damascus conversion:
... in an interview this afternoon, the target of the 1998 slur, leading gay philanthropist James Hormel, told me he never received an apology from Hagel himself, questioned the sincerity of the apology, and said the incident should still raise questions about whether Hagel is the right man to oversee the repeal of don’t ask don’t tell.
“I have not received an apology,” Hormel, who is a major figure in Democratic politics, told me. “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 that the apology appeared to have been given “only in service of his attempt to get the nomination.”...
Of Hagel’s comment, Hormel added: “If it were made today, it would be clearly disqualifying.”
I know it's a cliché but try to imagine how this would play out if Hagel and the President considering his appointment were Republicans.