Former Nebraska Senator Chuck Hagel has been confirmed for the next Secretary of Defense. This comes after the Republicans have finally caved on attempting to filibuster Hagel’s nomination. The move that has been slammed by MSNBC’s Chris Matthews, who noted that the Republicans appear to be more than willing to grind the government to a halt out of hatred for President Barack Obama.
Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson praised the Senate for confirming Chuck Hagel, and called on him to address the military’s lack of discrimination and harassment protections for lesbian and gay members.
Robinson stated “We congratulate Senator Hagel for enduring an incredibly arduous confirmation process to become our next Secretary of Defense – this is a win for all service members, and for LGBT service members and their families especially. We thank the Senator for his commitment to equal treatment and equal opportunity, and we urge him to take swift action to include our service members in non-discrimination and anti-harassment protections.”
OS-SLDN noted that LGB service members are not protected by and have no recourse outside the chain of command should the be the victim of harassment or discrimination for their sexuality.
Senator Chuck Hagel was slammed during the nomination process for his opposition to the Iraq War, and his past votes and statements regarding LGB equality in the military. However, he has addressed the issue of LGB service members and his support for their families and the extension of benefits as far as they can under the law.
Robinson stated “It has been reassuring to see Senator Hagel show the kind of clear, unambiguous leadership in support of our service members and their families he has demonstrated in recent months. Now he has the opportunity to turn his commitments into action, and we look forward to working with him to ensure our military embodies the same values of fairness and equality it protects.”
Republicans have been doing what they can to oppose and cripple the Obama Administration even if it slowly destroy their power base.
Service Women’s Action Network added their voice saying “SWAN congratulates Senator Hagel on his confirmation as Secretary of Defense. We are at a critical juncture with our nation’s military and we need decisive, strong leadership to usher in greater justice and equality. We strongly urge the Secretary to continue making the eradication of military sexual violence a top priority. We also advocate a continued focus on providing full reproductive health care for service women, ensuring benefits and protections for LGBT service members and their families, and overseeing the full and fair integration of women into combat units. We also recommend that Secretary Hagel engage with the community by working closely with veterans-led advocacy organizations to accomplish these goals.”