Of the many reactions to Defense Secretary nominee Chuck Hagel's comments about an ambassador nominee being "aggressively gay" — which the then-Senator gave to a Nebraska newspaper in 1998 but emerged in December, forcing an apology before they emerged in expanded form on Wednesday — by far the most vexing, and internally divisive, stem from the Log Cabin Republicans.
The prominent conservative gay-rights group sponsored a series of critical ads in the New York Times and the Washington Post leading up to Hagel's nomination by President Obama on Monday. As the confirmation debate slowly ratchets up, the ads reflect a dilemma for the group: they endorsed former presidential nominee Mitt Romney despite his total opposition to gay marriage and civil unions for gay couples, as well as his view that Don't Ask, Don't Tell should not have been repealed.
And Hagel's comments are clearly controversial among the group's rank and file members, one of whom resigned Wednesday from Log Cabin's D.C. chapter over the ads attacking Hagel. Berin Szoka writes:
Mitt Romney opposed DADT repeal, marriage equality, employment non-discrimination and essentially every other gay issue Log Cabin stands for — yet Log Cabin still endorsed him, albeit in a “qualified” way. Now they oppose Hagel, who's said he's "fully supportive of 'open service' and committed to LGBT military families" — the only gay issues a secretary of Defense actually handles.
"That bizarre double standard," Szoka continues, "will frustrate what should be Log Cabin’s top goal: encouraging Republicans to improve on gay rights — precisely as Hagel's done."