Rep. Joe Kennedy is leading opposition to Trump’s anti-LGBT Army Secretary.
Donald Trump is this month attempting to replace Obama’s openly gay nominee Eric Fanning with an anti-gay Tennessee Republican lawmaker, Mark Green.
Mr Green is the author of a Tennessee bill that would grant businesses unlimited rights to discriminate without any action from state agencies, invalidating any non-discrimination protections.
He has also attacked Obama’s civil rights protections for transgender children as an example of “tyrannical government”, claimed that being transgender is a “disease”, and encouraged Tennessee to defy the US Supreme Court and deny same-sex couples the right to marry.
Rep. Joe Kennedy III (MA-04), who heads the Transgender Equality Task Force in Congress, is leading the charge against Green’s nomination.
The politician, the 36-year-old grandson of Robert F Kennedy, led 31 Members of Congress in a letter to the Senate Armed Services Committee opposing his nomination.
The letter says: “We are writing to urge you to oppose Mark E Green’s nomination for Secretary of the Army.
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.”
It adds: “Since the end of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, we have been pleased to witness the enormous strides that have been made in welcoming LGBT people into the US Armed Forces. In particular, we welcomed the Department of Defense’s decision in 2016 to allow transgender Americans to serve.
“The [announcement] stated that ‘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, nothing in Mr Green’s record suggests that he shares that commitment.”
It continues: “LGBT soldiers are willing to make tremendous sacrifices to protect our rights and freedoms.
“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.”
All of the signatories are Democrats.
Green yesterday lashed out at his critics, claiming he had been taken out of context on LGBT issues.
He said: “The liberal left has cut and spliced my words… 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.”
Describing the blog, Green claimed: “It would seem that this gentleman has figured out why certain people are cutting and splicing my words to paint me as a hater. “
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The blog entry to which Green directly linked refers to a transgender woman as a “man-turned-woman” and repeatedly brands them man.
It goes on to suggest it was inappropriate for a gay person to hold the post of Army Secretary because they “serve over troops who were morally opposed to such behaviour”.
Speaking about trans people previously, Green said: “If you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease.
“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.
“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.”