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General Mattis Indicates He Will Not Roll Back Open LGBT Military Service As Secretary of Defense

Thursday, January 12, 2017   (0 Comments)


General Mattis Indicates He Will Not Roll Back Open LGBT Military Service As Secretary of Defense

WASHINGTON -- Today, the nation’s leading organizations for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) service members and their families -- the American Military Partner Association (AMPA) and OutServe-SLDN -- issued the following joint statement following comments made by President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of Defense, retired General James Mattis, during confirmation hearings this morning. General Mattis indicated he will not work to reverse the current policies that allow any qualified person to serve, including LGBT people.

“We are heartened by General Mattis’ stated commitment during his testimony not to reverse the profound progress we have made in ensuring LGBT service members and their families are able to serve our nation with pride,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matt Thorn. “Because questions had been raised about his commitment on this front, uncertainty in the future had given our military families great cause for concern. His comments today give us hope for a working relationship between our organizations and the new Defense Department leadership.  If confirmed, we look forward to working with General Mattis in supporting our nation’s brave heroes and their families. We are committed to holding the incoming administration accountable and ensuring all who serve, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, have the support and respect they need and deserve.”

During his prepared testimony, General Mattis said, “We open the door to all patriots who are eligible and meet the standards, provide them with the training, equipment, and leadership that's central to their success, and ensure all service members are treated with dignity and respect.”

When asked by Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) about his support for LGBT service members currently serving our nation, General Mattis said, “Senator, my belief is that we have to stay focused on a military that’s so lethal that on the battlefield it will be the enemies’ longest day and their worst day when they run into that force. I believe that military service is a touchstone for patriots of whatever stripe. It’s simply the way that they demonstrate their commitment. And I believe right now that the policies that are in effect, unless a service chief brings something to me where there’s a problem that’s been proven, then I’m not going in with the idea that I’m going to review these and right away start rolling something back.” He went on to say, “Frankly, I’ve never cared much about two consenting adults and who they go to bed with.”

Later, Senator Mazie Hirono (D-HI) asked him directly, “Is there something innate in being a woman or LGBT that would cause you to believe that they could not be part of a lethal force?” General Mattis replied with a simple, “no.”

Yesterday in a joint statement, AMPA and OutServe-SLDN called on General Mattis to make clear his full and unequivocal support for all of our nation’s heroes and their families, including those who are LGBT.

OutServe-SLDN (OS-SLDN) is the largest non-profit, legal services, advocacy and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. With more than fifty chapters and 70,000 subscribers around the world, OS-SLDN supports a professional network of LGBT military personnel and strives to create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit


The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) is the nation’s largest organization of LGBT military spouses, their families, and allies. With more than 50,000 members and supporters, AMPA is committed to education, advocacy, and support for our “modern military families.” For more information, visit


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