Trump Expected To Replace Army’s First Openly Gay Army Sec. With Anti-LGBTQ Tennessee Lawmaker

TENNESEE GENERAL ASSEMBLY

Donald Trump is expected to choose Tennessee state Sen. Mark Green (R), a legislator who sponsored a bill that LGBTQ advocates say takes direct aim at their community, as his Army secretary, reports the Huffington Post.

Should Green be confirmed, he would be following the previous Army secretary, Eric Fanning, who held the job under President Barack Obama, and was also the first openly gay person to serve in the role.

As the Huffington Post pointed out on Tuesday, Green is the sponsor of SB 127, 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.”

Tennessee does not currently have nondiscrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, although some municipalities do have stronger rules protecting LGBTQ government employees. Green’s bill, however, would bar local governments and public universities from looking at companies’ internal policies when doing business or giving out contracts ― because it would be considered discrimination against the business.

“You [wouldn’t be able to] have a provision in your contracting rule saying, ‘We’ll only contract with organizations that treat married same-sex couples equally. You couldn’t do that,” said Chris Sanders, executive director of the Tennessee Equality Project. “Or you couldn’t say, ‘We’ll only subcontract with companies that have contraception as part of their health insurance.’ It’s not just LGBT [issues].”

Green’s bill is now being considered by the House after passing the state Senate in early March.

Two members of Green’s party voted against his bill which he contends will make the law “consistent across the state.” City managers and LGBTQ groups around the state are opposed to the legislation.

“What we’re now saying is all personnel and employee benefit issues, we at the state are going to set what those are, and local communities cannot go beyond state law,” Green said in February, in response to criticisms.

The legislation is reminiscent of HB 2 in North Carolina, which also shackled municipalities from writing more-inclusive nondiscrimination policies than existed at the state level. North Carolina’s measure, however, was more encompassing than the one in Tennessee.

“During the confirmation process, one of the many areas that senators ought to ask him about would certainly include whether he’s going to be secretary of the Army for LGBT troops as well. I think there are reasonable doubts given that he’s writing anti-LGBT legislation and he’s writing in stealth,” Sanders said.

“If you read the bill, a lot of people would say, ‘What’s anti-LGBT about that?’ On its face, it never uses the names for our community, it never uses the words sexual orientation or gender identity,” he added. “But this is how the far right is writing anti-LGBT legislation now.”