House Dems to Senate: Reject Army nominee over LGBT record
Thirty-one House Democrats are urging the Senate to oppose President Trump’s choice for Army secretary, saying that his LGBT record shows he “cannot be trusted” to ensure soldiers are able to serve without discrimination or harassment.
“LGBT soldiers are willing to make tremendous sacrifices to protect our rights and freedoms,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the leaders of the Senate Armed Services Committee regarding nominee Mark Green. “It would be deeply disrespectful to their service to appoint a secretary of the Army whose history of homophobia and transphobia makes it clear that he is not willing to do the same for them.”
The letter was organized by Rep. Joseph Kennedy (D-Mass.), chairman of the Congressional Transgender Task Force. It was first reported on by The Washington Blade on Wednesday.
Green, currently a Tennessee state senator, has come under fierce opposition from LGBT groups over his legislative record and past statements.
Green had a 20-year Army career that included being the emergency physician during the operation that captured Saddam Hussein in 2003.
Earlier this month, Human Rights Campaign (HRC) circulated video of a speech Green gave last year to the Chattanooga Tea Party, where he said “transgender is a disease” and railed against former President Obama’s efforts to require public schools to let transgender children use the bathroom of their choice.
HRC and the American Military Partner Association then held a conference call to denounce Green’s nomination.
And last week, GLAAD circulated a clip of an online radio show where Green cited a Bible verse that he says calls on the government to “crush evil” to explain his opposition to transgender rights and Syrian refugees.
His state Senate record also includes supporting a bill that allows therapists to deny treatment to LGBT individuals on religious grounds.
And he’s the sponsor of a bill that would prohibit action against a business for its internal personnel and benefits policies so long as those policies are already compliant with state law. Tennessee law does not specifically bar discrimination based on sexuality and gender identity, and LGBT advocates say Green’s bill is meant to allow companies to discriminate against them.
Green has defended himself by saying the “radical left” is “blatantly falsifying” his past statements to “paint [him] as a hater.”
“The liberal left has cut and spliced my words about terrorism and ISIS blatantly falsifying what I’ve said,” Green said in a Facebook post Tuesday. “I believe that every American has a right to defend their country regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity and religion. It’s the radical left that won’t allow the latter.”
In their letter, dated Monday, the House lawmakers highlight the progress LGBT troops have made in recent years, including the end of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the lifting of the ban on transgender troops.
They also quote an Army memo sent after the end of the transgender ban last year that says “‘the Army is open to all who can meet the standards for military service and readiness and remains committed to treating all soldiers with dignity and respect.”
“Unfortunately,” the lawmakers added, “nothing in Mr. Green’s record suggests that he shares that commitment.”
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