As President Barack Obama is set to nominate former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) as defense secretary, the Log Cabin Republicans have released a full-page ad in the Washington Post opposing him. The ad by the conservative gay rights group criticizes Hagel's record on issues of LGBT equality. In 1998, Hagel called James Hormel, then President Bill Clinton's choice for U.S. ambassador to Luxembourg, “openly, aggressively gay." He characterized Hormel's sexual orientation as an "inhibiting factor" that would prevent him from doing "an effective job." Hagel recently apologized, saying his 1998 remarks were "insensitive." Hormel has said the former senator's remarks seemed politically timed but accepted them as a "clear apology." The Log Cabin Republicans' ad says Hagel's apology is "too little, too late," and includes a timeline of the senator's record on gay rights. It points out that in 1996, he said he would have voted for the Defense of Marriage Act, which prohibits federal recognition of same-sex marriages. In 1999, he also said he opposed repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," the ban on openly gay men and women serving in the military that was repealed in 2010. The group's stance against Hagel appears to be far stricter than it was against GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney, whom it endorsed in the presidential race. Romney also opposed same-sex marriage and took hardline positions against gay rights during his campaign.
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