Advocates for gay, lesbian and transgender rights urged the Senate on Monday to reject President Trump’s choice for Army secretary, calling him “a social issues warrior” who has worked to undermine LGBT rights at every turn.
“The administration could not have picked a worse nominee,” said David Stacy, government affairs director of the Human Rights Campaign.
Trump announced Friday he is nominating Mark Green, a former Army officer and Republican state senator from Tennessee, to lead the Army. If confirmed by the Senate, he would succeed Eric Fanning, the first openly gay leader of a branch of the military.
Green, 52, is a physician and West Point graduate who is popular among many Tea Party-aligned Republicans. He was deployed three times overseas during his military service and was an Army medic for a special operations team that captured Saddam Hussein. Green wrote a book about the experience.
Gay-rights groups, however, contend he’s one of the most extreme, anti-LGBT politicians in the country and worry that, if confirmed, he would work to roll back the progress that has been made in integrating openly gay men and women in the armed forces since the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on military service.
“We’ve finally ended archaic policies that forced service members and their families to hide who they are and treated them as second class citizens,” said Stephen Peters, the Human Rights Campaign’s press secretary and a military veteran who was discharged under “don’t Ask, don’t tell.”
Putting Green in charge of the Army “would send an incredibly dangerous message down the chain of command, a message that undermines the important progress we have made.”
LGBT groups point to Green’s legislative record in Tennessee and his public comments on issues such as same-sex marriage and transgender rights as proof of his “radical and outdated” views.