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 ahead of the U.S. Senate confirmation hearing of retired USMC General James Mattis, who was nominated by President-elect Donald Trump to serve as Secretary of Defense. The confirmation hearing for General Mattis is scheduled for Thursday morning.

“Over the last eight years, the United States has made profound progress for LGBT service members and their families under the leadership of President Obama. No longer forced to hide something as fundamental as who we are, LGBT service members can serve openly and honestly. LGBT service members and their families take great pride in our service to the nation and are finally able to express that pride publicly. Our organizations stand ready to protect and build upon this vitally important progress.”

“We respect General Mattis’ service and dedication to our country. Because questions have been raised regarding Mattis’ commitment to the diversity of our fighting force, we feel, as the leading advocates for our modern military families, a responsibility to call for clarity. During the confirmation process, we urge 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. It is absolutely crucial that the next Secretary of Defense is committed to ensuring all service members and their families — no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity — have the support they need and deserve. These military families sacrifice each and every day for our nation, and it is imperative that they know the senior civilian leadership has their back.”