Today, HRC President Chad Griffin issued the following statement on the passing of U.S. Senator John McCain:
“Senator McCain was a patriot and a hero, whose life was defined by his service and sacrifice on behalf of our country,” said Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign. “While we disagreed on many issues, later in his career, he became an increasingly vocal advocate for LGBTQ servicemembers. In the last few years, Senator McCain blocked anti-LGBTQ language in the National Defense Authorization Act, opposed a ‘license to discriminate’ bill in Arizona, denounced the Trump-Pence Administration's effort to ban transgender troops and spoke out against the nomination of the anti-LGBTQ Mark Green to lead the Army. We join with millions of Americans in mourning his loss, and extend our deepest condolences to Senator McCain’s wife, Cindy, and his entire family.”
Last year, Sen. McCain, Chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, came out in opposition to Trump’s proposed transgender military ban, saying in a statement, “There is no reason to force service members who are able to fight, train, and deploy to leave the military — regardless of their gender identity.” In 2015, McCain -- who had once led the charge to maintain Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell -- made headlines when he took to the Senate floor to put his full support behind President Barack Obama’s nomination of Eric Fanning, who is openly gay, to be the Secretary of the Army. McCain was one of ten Senate Republicans to vote in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would bar employers from discriminating based on sexual orientation or gender identity and was a vocal opponent of Arizona’s proposed “license to discriminate” bill. McCain was also reportedly instrumental in forcing Mark Green, the Trump-Pence administration’s anti-LGBTQ nominee for Secretary of the Army, to withdraw earlier this year.