Former Sen. Chuck Hagel, a Republican nominated by President Obama to become his next Secretary of Defense, said this week he supports the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” and would work to extend benefits to the families and spouses of gay and lesbian military personnel if he is confirmed. “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,” Hagel said in a letter to Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif.

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