Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green (R), President Donald Trump’s choice to be the next Army secretary, has finally broken his silence about the strong opposition he has faced for his positions and comments about the lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer community.
In a Facebook post Tuesday, Green went after the “liberal left” for making him out to be a “hater.”
“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,” he wrote.
As the civilian head of the Army, Green would oversee a force that’s been fully integrated since June, when the Pentagon ended its ban on transgender people serving openly. If confirmed, he would stand in significant contrast to the previous Army secretary, Eric Fanning, who was the first openly gay person to serve in the position.
Some of Green’s past comments and positions, to which he alluded in his Facebook post:
- Anti-LGBTQ Legislation: As a Tennessee state senator, Green recently sponsored a bill that would bar government entities from taking “discriminatory action against a business entity on the basis of the internal policies of the business entity” in the state.
Tennessee’s nondiscrimination protections currently do not cover discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity, although some municipalities do have stronger rules protecting LGBTQ government employees.
Green’s bill, however, would block local governments and public universities from considering companies’ internal policies (such as whether they discriminate based on gender identity or sexual orientation) when doing business or giving out contracts ― because the legislation considers that to be discriminatory.
The measure passed the Tennessee state Senate, but the House deferred it until next year.
- Being “Transgender Is A Disease”: In September, Green told a Tea Party gathering that he believes being transgender 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.” The medical community actually does not agree with Green. Watch the entire exchange here.
- A Mission To “Crush Evil”: In June, Green said he opposed allowing people to use the restroom that corresponds to their gender identity, rather than the sex assigned at birth. He told an online radio show he believed the matter should be left up to the states rather than the federal government, and then cited the safety of women as a key reason he personally opposes transgender equality in public accommodations.
Green also cited the Bible for his opposition to such policies, saying he needs to “crush evil”: “The government exists to honor those people who live honorably, who do good things ― to reward people who behave well and to crush evil. So that means as a state senator, my responsibility very clearly in Romans 13 is to create an environment where people who do right are rewarded and the people who do wrong are crushed. Evil is crushed. So I’m going to protect women in their bathrooms, and I’m going to protect our state against potential infiltration from the Syrian ISIS people in the refugee program.”
It’s already illegal for men to sexually assault women, whether it takes place in a bathroom or any other place. Such policies change nothing in that regard. And leading organizations dedicated to fighting sexual assault say they support transgender equal access.
The LGBTQ rights group GLAAD, which first shared the audio of Green with HuffPost, hit back on Green’s assertion that his words had been cut and spliced:
“GLAAD unearthed and shared the full, unedited audio interview in which Mark Green called transgender Americans an ‘evil’ that must be ‘crushed,’” said Sarah Kate Ellis, the group’s president and CEO. “Mark Green can try and blame others, but it’s his own words that make him unfit to be the next Army Secretary.”
On Monday night, transgender celebrity and Olympian Caitlyn Jenner called out Trump for his nomination of Green.
“I’m really concerned with, kind of the next move for the Trump administration, is Mark Green, who’s a Republican from Tennessee. ... He’s made some of the most anti-LGBT statements ever, calling me, a trans person, as a disease. I have to tell Mark Green, I don’t have a disease, OK?” Jenner said.
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