Thursday, January 17, 2013
The Pentagon won't intervene in the decision by a military spouses club to deny membership to the wife of a lesbian soldier.
Department of Defense spokesman Nathan Christensen told NBC News:
The legal basis for the Pentagon’s stance is a department-wide “instruction” drafted in 2008, three years before the repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, said. That directive ensures that “non-federal entities” operating on U.S. military installations don’t discriminate on the basis of “race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, or national origin.” There is no mention of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
As Home Post reported in December, Ashley Broadway attempted to join the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses after her wife, Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack, was transferred to Fort Bragg. Broadway has been in a committed partnership with Mack since 1997, and the couple was legally married after the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. They also have a young son together.
Broadway said the reason the club gave her for denying her membership was that she didn't have a military spouse ID card. Broadway is unable to get such a card because the military, as part of the federal government, doesn't yet recognize same-sex marriages.
In urging ABOS to reconsider its rejection of her membership request, Broadway wrote on The American Military Partner Association website:
My families, and families like mine, are included in the vision of tomorrow’s Army. Please keep in mind that DADT was repealed over a year ago. Our Commander-in-Chief supports us; I was the first same-sex military spouse invited by the First Lady to attend her Mother’s Day Tea. We are a part of the face of this country’s future, and the White House, Pentagon, and many other posts are leaning forward to embrace this progression.
Ironically, the Marine Corps last week advised its legal staff that on-base spouses clubs must admit same-sex spouses if they wish continue operating on those installations.