Chuck Hagel walks into a meeting on Capitol Hill in 2008. (Sarah L. Voisin/Washington Post)

Update: Hagel has retracted his past statements on gays and the Human Rights Campaign has accepted him as an ally. More on the doubt over Hagel among gay rights activists here.

The Human Rights Campaign, a major gay rights organization, is firing a warning shot at former Nebraska senator Chuck Hagel, the Republican being considered by President Obama as a potential secretary of defense. In a statement, HRC president Chad Griffin called Hagel's past comments on gay people and positions on gay rights "unacceptable." 

Hagel has earned the ire of gay rights groups for several reasons. In particular, he spoke ill of James Hormel when the gay philanthropist was nominated as ambassador to Luxembourg, and he endorsed the "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy against gays serving openly in the military.