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Hagel's "Aggressively Gay" Comment: It Gets Worse

Hagel said being openly gay for Hormel in his position went "beyond common sense." He also accused a gay nominee of attending an "anti-Catholic" event.

Posted on January 9, 2013, at 12:25 p.m. ET

Chuck Hagel, President Obama's nominee for Secretary of Defense, has already apologized for what he called "insensitive" comments 14 years ago about James C. Hormel, an ambassadorial nominee who he opposed because he was "openly, aggressively gay."

But there was actually more to Hagel's comment than was previously reported. In a 1998 Omaha World Herald article recently published online, Hagel detailed his objection to Hormel's nomination, saying he was concerned that Hormel had aligned himself with a group he considered "anti-Catholic," and asserted that being gay was "beyond common sense."

In the interview, Hagel referred to a documentary, filmed with money that Hormel donated, that was meant to show teachers how to teach children about homosexuality. Hagel said he had seen another video clip that showed Hormel at an event which Hagel said was "anti-Catholic" in San Francisco, featuring a group of male drag queens called "Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence."

"It is very clear on this tape that he's laughing and enjoying the antics of an anti - Catholic gay group in this gay parade," Hagel said. "I think it's wise for the president not to go forward with this nomination."

Hagel said Hormel "very aggressively told the world of his gayness and the funding and all the things he's been involved in. I think you do go beyond common sense there, and reason and a certain amount of decorum."

"If you send an ambassador abroad with a cloud of controversy hanging over him, then I think it's unfair to our country, it's unfair to the host country and it's unfair to the ambassador because the effectiveness of that individual is going to be seriously curtailed. That's just a fact of life. And I believe Hormel's situation is one of those," Hagel said.

The Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence

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