Log Cabin Challenges Senator Inhofe Over Attack on James Hormel
Compared Gay Nominee to Former Nazi and KKK Member
(WASHINGTON, DC) – The leader of a national gay and lesbian organization wrote a
letter to Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma today, sharply criticizing his
comments in an article in Monday's Roll Call which compared James Hormel,
the openly-gay nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, to former Nazi
and Ku Klux Klan member David Duke.
In the letter, Richard Tafel, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, challenged Inhofe's procedural hold on the Hormel nomination, adding that Senator Inhofe has "not hidden the fact that [Hormel's] sexual orientation is the reason for your opposition, and, frankly, any attempt to pretend it is not stretches all sense of credibility."
Tafel also blamed Inhofe and other Senators blocking a vote on Hormel for bringing up sexual orientation as an issue, saying their actions have transformed the matter from a routine confirmation to "a test of the Republican Party."
"You have now made this a matter of fairness, which will be a test of the Republican Party in the eyes of the American people," Tafel said.
Log Cabin Republicans is the nation's largest gay and lesbian Republican organization, with 50+ chapters nationwide and a federal political action committee.
Full Text of Log Cabin Republicans Letter to Senator James Inhofe (R-OK)
May 20, 1998
The Honorable James Inhofe
United States Senate
Washington, DC 20510
Dear Senator Inhofe:
I am writing in response to your comments in Monday's edition of Roll Call in which you likened James Hormel, the nominee for U.S. Ambassador to Luxembourg, to former Nazi and Klansman David Duke. I found your comments ridiculous and unfair. You and the other Members blocking Mr. Hormel's nomination have not hidden the fact that his sexual orientation is the reason for your opposition, and, frankly, any attempt to pretend it is not stretches all sense of credibility.
The leader of a Republican organization would not normally support a Democratic nominee before the Senate. But your comments and your actions have managed to galvanize a response from some of your own Republican colleagues and other prominent Republicans like former Secretary of State George Schultz. There was never a "gay" aspect to this nomination until you and the handful of other Members blocking a floor vote decided to make it into a "gay" issue, digging for flimsy and distorted evidence to back your claims against Mr. Hormel's character. And rather than voice the nature of your opposition in a floor debate in which you are certain to lose, you have decided to keep the nomination from ever reaching the floor. You have now made this a matter of fairness, which will be a test of the Republican Party in the eyes of the American people.
A very important principle is at stake. For years, the GOP has called itself the party of individual rights. We've said that merit should be the sole criterion by which all Americans are judged in the workplace, particularly in opposing quotas and preferences. But issues like the Hormel nomination are where rhetoric is put to the test. You have never hidden your personal animosity towards gay Americans, and there are millions of dedicated Republicans across this country who, regardless of the outcome of this or any other matter before the Senate, will fight on against the kind of preferences, discrimination and petty intolerance you continue to support.
Richard L. Tafel
Log Cabin Republicans