Some important strides may be underway for LGBT equality in the military. In the wake of Senator Chuck Hagel’s nomination for Secretary of Defense, Hagel wrote a letter to Senator Barbara Boxer (D) of California. As published in the Huffington Post article, “Hagel Promises to Extend Benefits to Gay and Lesbian Military Families,” Hagel’s letter read in part: “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.”
According to Amanda Turkel, author of the January 15, 2013, Huffington Post article, Hagel has also rescinded and apologized for a homophobic comment he made in 1998 about James Hormel, wherein he theorized that Hormel’s sexual orientation would be an “inhibiting factor” in his doing an “effective job” as an US ambassador to Luxembourg. In this way, Turkel exemplifies Hagel’s evolution on the issue of same-sex equality.
Turkel further reported that “Allyson Robinson, executive director of Out-Service-SLDN, cheered Hagel’s response to Boxer on Tuesday, saying it was ‘a turning point for our gay and lesbian military families.” The gay and lesbian therapists at Chicago based IntraSpectrumalso applaud Hagel’s new commitment to equality. As gay and lesbian military members are treated with more equity, other institutions will follow suit, thereby creating a United States more consistent with its ideal of equality for all.