Soldiers bound for Afghanistan stand at parade rest during a departure ceremony on November 4, 2011 in Fort Carson, Colorado. Some 250 medical soldiers from the U.S. Army 10th Combat Support Hospital are deploying to Afghanistan in the next two weeks. Military doctors, nurses and medics from the unit will be sent to five forward operating bases across southern and western Afghanistan, tasked with saving the lives of wounded American, coalition and enemy wounded brought in from the battlefield. John Moore/Getty Images.
House Democrats sent a letter to the Senate Committee on Armed Services Monday, urging members to oppose Tennessee State Sen. Mark Green for the position of secretary of the Army, due to his “homophobic” stances.
The letter calls on GOP Sen. John McCain, chairman of the committee, and ranking member Democratic Sen. Jack Reed, to oppose Green, as his statements have “made it clear that he cannot be trusted to ensure that LGBT soldiers are able to serve their country without discrimination or harassment.”
“We are writing to urge you to oppose Mark E. Green’s nomination for the position of Secretary of the Army,” the members of Congress, led by Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy III, said. “The Secretary of the Army is responsible for supporting over one million soldiers, a number that includes many lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender soldiers. However, Mr. Green’s past statements and actions have made it clear that he cannot be trusted to ensure that LGBT soldiers are able to serve their country without discrimination or harassment.”
Kennedy, who serves as chair of the Congressional Transgender Task Force, told the Washington Blade that he hadn’t yet had a personal conversation with McCain or Reed about the matter.
Trump announced his intention to nominate Green for secretary of the Army on April 7, which quickly sparked opposition from pro-LGBT groups.
But Green said in a statement on Facebook recently that LGBT groups have been completely misinterpreting his remarks.
“As someone who proudly served our nation in the Army with men and women of all backgrounds and beliefs, my concern is nothing more than building the best Army with the best soldiers who are willing to prepare, fight and, if necessary, die for our country regardless of their political beliefs, ethic background, religious beliefs or sexual orientation,” he wrote on April 16.
“I am not anti-gay or anti-Muslim at all,” he added. “Discrimination is wrong and it goes very much against those Christian principles I hold dear, as you have stated. I look forward to addressing these false accusations during the confirmation process and, much more important, discussing the issues of military preparedness and creating a lethal force that protects our nation.”
While serving as a state senator, Green backed legislation allowing mental health practitioners to opt-out of treating LGBT patients in the case of religious objections. He also was behind a bill to keep transgender students from using the bathrooms belonging to the sex opposite to which they were born.
The American Military Partner Association, an organization advocating on behalf of the LGBT community in the military, applauded the letter in a statement Thursday.
Congress has not received Green’s nomination as of Wednesday, according to Army Times.
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