Green’s Army secretary nomination draws national LGBT activist criticism

State Sen. Mark Green’s selection by President Trump as U.S Secretary of the Army, formally announced Friday, is drawing criticism from LGBT activists in national media reporting. If confirmed, the Clarksville Republican will succeed Eric Fanning, a 2016 Obama appointee who became the first openly gay person to be named as head of any branch of the U.S. military services.

A sampler from reports over the weekend:

From the New York Times:

Mr. Green’s nomination, which has been anticipated for weeks, had already drawn criticism from L.G.B.T. advocates even before Mr. Trump officially named him. On Tuesday, the American Military Partner Association, the largest organization of L.G.B.T. military families, accused Mr. Green of making “a shameful political career out of targeting L.G.B.T. people for discrimination.”

Ashley Broadway-Mack, the president of the association, said that “all soldiers and their families, including those who are L.G.B.T., should have confidence that the secretary of the Army has their back and is working for their best interest. Unfortunately, based on his vicious, anti-L.G.B.T. record, Mark Green cannot be trusted to ensure all those who serve have the support they need and deserve.”

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, in a statement Friday, said he supported Mr. Green’s nomination. “Mark will provide strong civilian leadership, improve military readiness and support our service members, civilians and their families,” Mr. Mattis said.

… As a Tennessee state legislator, Mr. Green made a number of controversial assertions about L.G.B.T. rights, including one before the Chattanooga Tea Party last year. During that appearance, Mr. Green offered up then-President Barack Obama’s opposition to laws meant to stop transgender people from using the bathrooms of their stated gender as the kind of government action from which armed citizens should protect themselves.

“We are back to where the country was at its beginning, and it’s the armed citizen who will defend this nation,” Mr. Green said then. “And there’s something else that we’ve got to protect ourselves from, and it is an overreaching federal government. The notion that Mr. Obama thinks that he can tell the state of Tennessee who can go into a men’s bathroom or a women’s bathroom is absurd.”

Further on the Chattanooga comments from The Huffington Post:

“Mark Green is a danger to every LGBTQ soldier bravely serving our country,” Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement Friday.

Green spoke to the Chattanooga Tea Party in September, telling a questioner that he still believes being transgender is a mental disorder. An attendee asked Green how midlevel and enlisted troops feel about the “social revolution that’s being imposed upon them by this government.”

Green replied that many service members are younger and are more than fine serving alongside openly gay men and women, which have been allowed in the military since President Barack Obama signed the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell” in 2010. He said that although most millennials are comfortable with people who are transgender, it is a “disease.”

“If you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease. It is a part of the DSM-6, I think it is, the book of diagnostic psychological procedures or diagnoses. It’s very interesting to see what’s happening in government, or in our nation.

“But you ask about how we fix it ― how we get the toothpaste back in the tube. I gotta tell you ― it’s going to start with me being the salt and the light to the people around me. I mean, if you really want to bring this back to who’s at fault, we got to look a little bit inwardly. We’ve tolerated immorality. And we’re reflecting light.”

From Daily Kos (with a headline describing Green as an “LGBTQ hater”)

Like many states, Tennessee has no laws protecting people from discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. Some of the state’s cities, however, have enacted ordinances to shield LGBTQ workers. But Green has sponsored SB 127. This bill would have prohibited cities or other government bodies from taking “discriminatory action against a business entity on the basis of the internal policies of the business entity.”

That is, using language that Republicans so love to twist, the bill would bar cities from taking “discriminatory” action against a business that discriminates against LGBTQ persons. In other words, no city would be permitted to end a contract or refuse to sign one on the grounds a business did not have policies on the books to protect LGBTQ employees.

The bill passed the state Senate but did not clear the House and is dead for the rest of 2017. 

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