Barney Frank Gives Hagel a Pass on Gay Comments

But Republican group is less forgiving

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jan 7, 2013 4:45 PM CST

(Newser) – With Afghanistan and defense spending at stake, Barney Frank is willing to overlook an anti-gay remark. "I was hoping the president wouldn’t nominate" Chuck Hagel for defense secretary, the gay-rights activist and former Democratic lawmaker tells the Boston Globe. But "as much as I regret what Hagel said, and resent what he said, the question now is going to be Afghanistan and scaling back the military." The backstory: Fifteen years ago, Hagel called James Hormel—then President Clinton's pick for ambassador to Luxembourg—"openly, aggressively gay," but he apologized last month.

Log Cabin Republicans, however, seem less forgiving about the GOP senator from Nebraska. The conservative gay rights group took out a full-page ad in the Washington Post slamming President Obama's choice, reports the Huffington Post. It dismisses Hagel's apology as "too little, too late" and notes other blemishes in his gay-rights record—like supporting the Defense of Marriage Act in 1996 and opposing the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in 1999. Huffington Post notes that the group backed Mitt Romney for president despite his anti-gay stands on the campaign trail.

Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. gestures during his news conference on his retirement, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington.
Rep. Barney Frank, D-Mass. gestures during his news conference on his retirement, Tuesday, Nov. 29, 2011, on Capitol Hill in Washington.   (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
In this June 26, 2008 file photo, then Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., speaks on foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington.
In this June 26, 2008 file photo, then Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., speaks on foreign policy at the Brookings Institution in Washington.   (AP Photo/Lauren Victoria Burke, File)
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