Chuck Hagel Commits To Equal Benefits for All Servicemembers

Jim Burroway

January 15th, 2013

In a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), former Sen. Chuck Hagel (R-NE), President Barack Obama’s nominee for Secretary of State Defense, said that he now supports the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and the expansion of equal benefits “to the extent permissible under current law” (PDF: 678KB/2 pages):

You asked if I would support the complete repeal of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. I fully support the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 and value the service of all those who fight for our country. I know firsthand the profound sacrifice our service members and their families make, and if confirmed as Secretary of Defense, I will do everything possible to the extent permissible under current law to provide equal benefits to the families of all our service members.


January 15th, 2013

As I said before, he’s a true soldier and believes in the chain of command, which starts with the CINC.

I hope that–in his confirmation hearings–he might be able to recall a personal story of knowing gay Marines while he was serving. Not required, but it would be a nice way of expressing his understanding of the commitment shown by all serving in uniform.

Timothy Kincaid

January 15th, 2013

Well this is a second step in the right direction. Perhaps his hearings will give us further reasons to be less worried. I hope so.

Lindoro Almaviva

January 15th, 2013

Wasn’t Hagel nominated for secretary of defense and Kerry for Secretary of Sate? Please correct me if I am wrong

Jim Burroway

January 15th, 2013

You’re right. My bad.

Lindoro Almaviva

January 15th, 2013

Ok,you threw me out for a loop there.


January 16th, 2013

What I seem to be missing in Hagel’s comments is anything that would be in support of LGBT’s that is one inch beyond that which he needs in order to forward his appointment, …oh maybe like support for SS Marraige, or ENDA, or Housing Equality, etc.

I hear none of this.

His words ring hollow to me.


January 16th, 2013

I doubt he’ll recall knowing any gay Marines, since during the time he served they would have been firmly in the closet. To ask further would be to call for speculation on his part.

As to other matters: “I FULLY support the Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Repeal Act of 2010 and value the service of ALL those who fight for our country. I know firsthand the PROFOUND sacrifice our service members AND THEIR FAMILIES make, and if confirmed as Secretary of Defense, I will do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE TO THE EXTENT PERMISSIBLE UNDER CURRENT LAW to provide EQUAL BENEFITS to the FAMILLIES OF ALL OUR SERVICE MEMBERS.”

Let’s see . . . would “one inch beyond” be MORE THAN equal? Should he do EVERYTHING POSSIBLE, REGARDLESS OF CURRENT LAW?

Yeah, someone’s missing it. Or . . . enlighten us . . . what words do you want? Write the “acceptable” script – then you can start a petition and DEMAND the words you find acceptable will be said, with or without public floggings and acts of contrition. After all, clearly, he can’t possibly have changed ANY views in 18 years, despite his double recognition that these service members have families and ALL should be accorded EQUAL BENEFITS. (I know, sarcasm just doesn’t come across in cold print)
True, he didn’t pledge to work day and night to change “existing laws,” but that’s NOT something Secretaries of Defense do. They perform an essentially administrative, not a legislative function – and activist advocacy isn’t really their bailiwick.

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