Groups that support LGBT members of the U.S. military are applauding the congressional testimony of retired Gen. James Mattis after he said he would not change America's policy of currently allowing LGBT soldiers to serve openly.
Mattis is President-elect Donald Trump's pick to lead the Department of Defense and answered questions Thursday from members of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
Last summer, Defense Secretary Ash Carter erased the ban on transgender members of the military serving. In a statement Thursday, American Military Partner Association President Ashley Broadway-Mack and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matt Thorn were "heartened" by Mattis' commitment to keep that policy intact.
"We are heartened by Gen. 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," the statement reads, reports The Hill.
Mattis has made statements in the past pertaining to what he said is the military's "progressive agenda" that promotes "social change." Lawmakers asked him about those statements Thursday and he said he doesn't see a problem with a woman or LGBT person serving.
Another LGBT group, the Palm Center, praised Mattis' comments as well.
"When Gen. Mattis agreed that women and LGBT troops can contribute to the military's lethality, he was supporting the long standing argument, backed up by a solid consensus in the research as well the experiences of foreign militaries, that inclusive policy promotes readiness," the group's director Aaron Belkin said, the Hill reports.
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