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LGBT Group Questions Hagel's Record On "A Broad Array Of Civil Rights Issues"

Obama's defense secretary pick is taking more criticism from the left — not just on gay rights.

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Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/MCT

Former U.S. Senator Chuck Hagel, a Republican from Nebraska, is nominated to be Secretary of Defense by President Barack Obama at the White House on Monday, January 7, 2013, in Washington, DC.

WASHINGTON — A far-left LGBT rights group Tuesday criticized former Sen. Chuck Hagel's "troubling trend of discord with the stated values of the Obama Administration."

GetEqual, the organization best known for pressuring President Obama to move on "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal by getting members arrested in White House protests, already stated their opposition to Obama's defense secretary nominee — but they increased the scope of their criticism Tuesday.

Specifically, the group states that they question Hagel not only on LGBT issues but on "Hagel's positions on a broad array of civil rights issues."

Reviewing Hagel's 12-year voting record in the Senate, Get Equal notes:

During his tenure in the Senate, Hagel scored 4% with the Human Rights Campaign, 14% with the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights, 12% with the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), 5% with the League of Conservation Voters, and 7% with the American Federation of State, County, and Municipal Employees (AFSCME). This is not a voting record that indicates Hagel is in line with the Obama Administration's stated core values.

"While Hagel's remarks 15 years ago about Jim Hormel pulled back the window on how he felt then about gay Americans, his voting record seems more in line with those remarks than with the Obama Administration. The majority of his votes in the areas of civil rights, economic justice, and environmental conservation -- the areas articulated as priorities for President Obama's second term -- rank him in the bottom rung of all members of Congress," Heather Cronk, managing director for GetEqual, said in a statement.

Tanya Domi, board chair for GetEqual and an Army veteran said Hagel's civil-rights record "needs to be examined deeply throughout the upcoming Senate confirmation" hearings, specifically as to continued implementation of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" repeal and regarding out transgender service — but also more broadly.

"Hagel must explain in great detail to members of the Senate Armed Services Committee during his nomination hearings where he stands on equality in the ranks and throughout the country. He owes this explanation to the American public but, more specifically, to service members whose lives would be in his hands, if confirmed," Domi said.

Chris Geidner is a Supreme Court correspondent for BuzzFeed News and is based in Washington, DC.

Contact Chris Geidner at

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