As he is officially nominated by President Trump as army secretary, it has been revealed that an anti-gay Republican lawmaker said trans people are “evil” that needs to be “crushed”.
Eric Fanning made history when Barack Obama nominated him as the United States Secretary of the Army in May last year, making history as the first out man to head a military branch.
However, Mr Fanning was turfed out of his job when Donald Trump took office, with billionaire hockey club owner Vincent Viola serving in the interim role.
Tennessee state senator Mark Green was nominated for the role by Trump, a strongly anti-LGBT Republican lawmaker, to fill the role full-time.
It has since been revealed that Green, who has opposed bills to protect trans people against discrimination, has used the bible to say that trans people represent an “evil” that needs to be “crushed”.
Last year Green said on Blog Talk Radio: “And as far as the religious argument goes, and this applies to the issue of Syrian refugees as well. There’s a big fuss about whether or not that we should sue the federal government over having to take refugees from Syria into the State of Tennessee, I believe we should sue the federal government in that case because Romans 13 is pretty doggone clear, this is the passage where it tells people to submit to the authorities – meaning, basically if you’re in the government, you should do what the government tells you to do. You know, don’t speed, all that kind of stuff. Obey the laws is basically what the passage says. But what it goes on to say is that because the government exists for two purposes.
“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. And whoever wants to stand up and take me on that, I’m ready to fight.”
In his first public statement since being nominated, and facing huge pushback for his anti-LGBT rhetoric, Green dismissed bills he put forward attacking LGBT people as “politics”.
Green is the author of Tennessee bill SB 127, which would grant businesses unlimited rights to discriminate without any action from state agencies, invalidating any non-discrimination protections.
The broadly worded states: “A government entity shall not take discriminatory action against a business entity on the basis of the internal policies of the business entity, including, but not limited to, personnel and employee benefit policies that are in compliance with state law.”
The bill was attacked by the Human Rights Campaign as a “thinly veiled legislative assault on LGBTQ Tennesseans and their families”.
HRC Legal Director Sarah Warbelow said at the time: “This proposal would forbid crucially important LGBTQ non-discrimination protections from being implemented by state and local government agencies.
“The Tennessee Senate should reject this shameful, discriminatory overreach of power.”
Mr Fanning previously spoke movingly about a significance of being an openly gay men in the role.
Addressing a Pride event, he said: “For many in our military, Pride in San Diego has special meaning… With their actions, they sent a clear message to our country: that it’s possible to take deep pride in being part of two great families, the U.S. military and the LGBT community.
“I thought about my own experience when I first went to the Pentagon. I didn’t see anyone else like me in that large building.
“Each time I advance in [my] career, I get more attention and more people write to me, and I realise how many other people now see something they didn’t see before.”