QUEER VOICES
05/10/2017 08:47 am ET

Trump's Army Secretary Pick Is Victim Of 'Gay Gestapo,' Right Wing Activists Claim

Mark Green faced criticism because of his history of anti-LGBTQ comments.

Facing a barrage of criticism over remarks he made about the LGBTQ community, Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green (R) withdrew his name from consideration to become the next Army secretary Friday. 

Green had been tapped by President Donald Trump for the role April 7, and put his previously announced run for governor of Tennessee on hold after receiving the nomination. However, it didn’t take long for Green’s controversial LGBTQ views to resurface in the wake of the appointment. The senator, who has supported anti-LGBTQ legislation in his state, suggested that being transgender is a “disease” while speaking to the Chattanooga Tea Party in September, HuffPost first reported in February.

In June 2016, he said he opposed policies that allow trans people to use the restroom that corresponds with their gender identity for biblical reasons, because he needs to “crush evil.”

In a Friday statement, Green said he felt his Christian beliefs had been “mischaracterized and attacked by a few on the other side of the aisle for political gain.” Nonetheless, he said he was declining the nomination in an effort to give Trump “the ability to move forward with his vision to restore our military to its rightful place in the world.”

LGBTQ advocacy groups hailed news of Green’s backing out as a victory. Religious right activists, however, felt differently, arguing that the senator had been wrongly “demonized” because of his comments. 

In a Monday blog post, American Family Association radio host Bryan Fischer blasted the “Gay Gestapo” for forcing Green to decline the nomination, arguing that “every advance of the homosexual agenda comes at the expense of religious liberty.” 

“The homosexual activists ran Green out of town because he believes that honest mental health professionals will tell you that transgenderism ‘is a disease.’ This is indisputably true,” Fischer wrote. He then added that Green’s backing out reflected badly on Trump’s proclaimed support of “religious liberty,” noting, “He will not be, his religious liberty order notwithstanding, America’s defender of the faith.”

Also leading the chorus of conservative voices to defend Green was Peter LaBarbera of the Americans for Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH). In a Monday appearance on “Janet Mefferd Today,” LaBarbera suggested that Christians and conservatives need “a rapid defense network” to fight back against “anti-Christian leftist bigotry.” 

Listen to LaBarbera’s remarks, courtesy of Right Wing Watch, below. 

The Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins echoed those sentiments in a Monday blog post, writing that Green had been “maligned, misquoted, and mistreated by liberals desperate to keep a pro-family, pro-gun, pro-freedom, pro-marriage leader from a position of military authority.”

“After two terms of political correctness, our soldiers deserve an Army Secretary who will do whatever it takes to boost morale, defend freedom, and restore readiness,” Perkins, whose opposition to LGBTQ issues is well-established, wrote. “Anything less not only puts the military at risk, but America too.”  

Green is now the second of Trump’s Army secretary nominees to withdraw from consideration. In February, Wall Street billionaire Vincent Viola backed out, saying he felt he would not be able to successfully navigate the confirmation process because of his business dealings.   

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