Army nominee forced to withdraw over anti-LGBT views runs for Congress

By : Chris Johnson of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National LGBT Media Association
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A Tennessee state senator forced to withdraw his nomination as Army secretary under the Trump administration after calling being transgender a “disease” has launched a campaign to run for Congress.

Mark Green will pursue the seat representing Tennessee’s 7th congressional district in the aftermath of its current occupant, Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-Tenn.), declaring her bid to run for U.S. Senate.

“As a proven conservative fighter, I am ready to earn the trust of the voters and take my values and leadership to the United States Congress,” Green said in a statement to the Tennessean.

As a state senator, Green spearheaded anti-transgender bathroom legislation and “religious freedom” bills allowing for anti-LGBT discrimination, such as a law signed by Gov. Bill Haslam allowing mental health practitioners to refuse treatment for LGBT patients out of religious objections.

A decorated war hero who was part of the military operation that captured Saddam Hussein, Green was nominated by President Trump to become Army secretary, but was forced to withdraw after a campaign to defeat him over his hostility to LGBT rights. Both Democratic and Republican senators expressed concern over his nomination, making his confirmation unlikely.

Unearthed video of Green at a Chattanooga Tea Party event last year revealed him responding to an audience question by equating being transgender to a medical disorder.

“If you poll the psychiatrists, they’re going to tell you that transgender is a disease,” Green said. “It is a part of the DSM-6, I think it is, the book of diagnostic psychological procedures or diagnoses.”

Contrary to Green’s remarks, being transgender is not a disease. In 2012, the American Psychological Association removed gender identity disorder from DSM-5’s list of mental disorders, replacing it with gender dysphoria. There is no DSM-6.

Green during the same event railed against the Obama-era guidance assuring transgender kids have access to the restroom consistent with their gender identity, which the Trump administration has since repealed, calling it “absurd” and an example of “over-reaching government.”

Also during the event, Green said he’d encourage state officials to disregard through acts of civil disobedience the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in favor of same-sex marriage nationwide.

“The governor can do stuff like that, no we’re not going to issue marriage licenses to gay people because our state voted differently,” Green said. “OK, Supreme Court, you said it. I don’t care. I’ll back you up.”

Green’s views don’t seem to have changed since he was forced to withdraw his nomination. Last month, Green tweeted out support for Alabama U.S. Senate candidate Roy Moore, who’s urged his state to ignore the U.S. Supreme Court for same-sex marriage and has called for the criminalization of homosexuality. Green apparently was in attendance for Moore campaign event.

It remains to be seen if other Republican candidates will enter the race to represent Tennessee’s 7th congressional district in Congress, which is a safe GOP district. The primary will take place Aug. 2.

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