Same-Sex Lt. Col. Spouse Experiences Discrimination

The Department of Defense General Counsel is reviewing the much publicized conflict

According to the Association of Bragg Officer Spouses website, they were founded upon four principles: Charity, Friendship, Hospitality, and Support.

Fort Bragg's social and service organization for officer's spouses has done many great things for the community, but is their decision to oust a same-sex officer's spouse wishing to apply for membership going against what they are built on?

Although the Army still considers same-sex married couples 'single' for benefits and entitlement purposes, should the group's cornerstone principles be revamped?

In Sunday's Fayetteville Observer report a well written opinion piece on the group discriminating against Ashley Broadway (see photo), a newly married Army spouse, also made national headlines last month when the conflict first arose.

Broadway might be a newlywed, but she is not new to the Army and its lifestyle. She has spent the past 15 years next to Lt. Col. Heather Mack, assistant chief of staff for the 1st Theater Sustainment Command.

Since the "don't ask, don't tell" law took effect 14 months ago, the Defense Department has kept in place policies that bar spouses of same-gender couples from having military identification cards, shopping on base, living in base housing or participating in certain family support programs.

Mack and Broadway are expecting their second child this month.

Should the Association of Bragg Officer Spouses relook their membership polices and change their core principles?

Doug McArthur January 08, 2013 at 09:17 PM
Don't worry, DOMA will be ruled unconstitutional by the Supreme Court this year.
mpw995 January 08, 2013 at 11:38 PM
Jeff, I really hope you are not an officer in the United States Military. Your comments are unbecoming of an officer and bring discredit to the military that I belonged to (USN and USMC) They embarrass me when I am asked if I am a veteran. I am a straight (not that t matters) married veteran who was discharged in 1986, probably when you were potty training. Let me school you on our Declaration of Independence which was written by men far greater than you: We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whom I choose to spend my life with is certainly withing the scope of "Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"
Mike January 09, 2013 at 12:15 AM
Having spent many years in the military, (multiple tours in Iraq) and as a closeted gay man I can tell you this kind of bigoted culture is pervasive. This is a very complex issue that goes deeper than bureaucracy, local or federal law. Recruitment and military marketing efforts (highly focused, effective branding), especially in targeted population demographics based on income, education (or lack thereof), and blatant reinforcement of adolescent expressions of patriotism and masculinity pull from "population islands" which typically skew conservative & religious. Most recruits come from a background with less opportunity. Nature abhors a vacuum. Where higher education and progressive ideas are absent, religion, tradition and "traditional values" fill the gap. There are many exceptions to this point, however in general terms it remains true. The military is perhaps the last bastion of large scale direct bigotry. But there is hope. Things are changing so fast. We are moving in the right direction and this move is a juggernaut. It is highly unlikely we will see policy back track. The military culture will continue to resist, blatantly, or, in non-direct ways. But as it was with segregation, so shall it be with gay rights. As service members and their families become more exposed to their LGBT colleagues and realize there was nothing really to worry about the fear and anger will dissipate. For everyone on the right side of this issue I commend you.
keith January 10, 2013 at 08:26 PM
I would like to bring up the point that these two ladies have been together for 15 years and being prior Army the don't ask don't tell was only taken away with in the last 2 years. So the real questions is why has this LTC not lived up to the Army values and discharged years ago for disobeying Army regulations?
Jared Kline January 10, 2013 at 10:08 PM
This last comment brings to mind an OCS candidate board I sat on some years ago. As I recall, there were five sergeants appearing, one at a time, before this board. Before appearing before the board, all of them had met the requirements on paper to attend Officer Candidate School and become Army officers. The OCS board was not a sort of rubber stamp. Each of the board members asked each candidate the same questions. One question required the candidate to "give an example in which it is necessary and right for an officer to disobey or disregard rules or Army regulations." There was only one wrong answer, and the wrong answer was "never." The one sergeant who was not selected from the others who appeared before that day answered 'it is never right or necessary to disobey Army regulations." An officer cannot be a robot who just follows regulations. Judgement must be applied, and the officer himself is responsible for what comes of his judgement. An officer who would sacrifice a soldier to rules is not the sort of officer that soldiers will follow without reservation. Regulations are guides. No one is relieved of the responsibility for judgement. In this case good order and discipline do not seem to have been a problem over the years of service of the LTC in question. The sense of "don't ask, don't tell" was that private matters, kept private, should not affect the mission, good order, and discipline; and so should be kept private, and the Army respected this. I


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