The same sex partner of a ranking officer at North Carolina’s Ft. Bragg Army Base has been barred from joining a military wives’ organization, the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses. According to the blog Queerty, Ashley Broadway and her wife, Army Lieutenant Colonel Heather Mack, have every reason to believe that the club is discriminating against them on the basis of their sexual orientation.
Raw Story spoke to Michael Cole-Schwartz, the director of communications for the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest LGBT rights group, via email. ”Gay and lesbian military partners share the same worries and needs as their straight counterparts and there is no reason to exclude them from fully participating in life at Ft. Bragg,” he said. ”There is no justifiable reason for Ashley to be treated as a second-class partner while her spouse serves wearing the uniform of this country.”
“I respectfully ask that you reconsider my request to join the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses,” she wrote. “Although I have only been a legal spouse since November 10th, I have been in a committed relationship with my spouse since 1997. I have been at every promotion ceremony from First Lieutenant through Lieutenant Colonel.”
She went on to describe what it’s like for her and her children to endure multiple deployments and TDYs (“Temporary Duty” assignments). “I’ll continue to comfort our son and newborn daughter as they watch her leave on the next. When I decided to dedicate myself to my spouse, I knew all too well I was dedicating myself to the Army as well.”
“You see, our lives are more similar than they are different,” she continued. “Please keep in mind that DADT was repealed over a year ago.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.”
The American Military Partner Association has set up a petition urging the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses to accept same sex partners of Army officers within their ranks.
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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