By Michelle Garcia
Originally published on Advocate.com December 13 2012 4:51 PM ET
The leaders of the Fort Bragg Officers' Spouses Club have announced that they will review their rules, which prohibit same-sex spouses of officers, at their next board meeting next month.
The announcement comes after Ashley Broadway, wife of Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack, was told she could not join the organization because she does not have an active military ID. The ID cards are typically granted to the husbands and wives of military personnel, but because the federal government does not recognize marriages of same-sex spouses, the military will not issue IDs to gay and lesbian military spouses.
Shortly after Broadway was denied membership, the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses's bylaws were evaluated, revealing that there was no policy stating that members must have military ID at the time she applied for membership. It was only after Broadway posted her appeal letter to the American Military Partner Association's website on Monday, and that the Association of Bragg Officer's Spouses post on its website that active military ID was required.
Allyson Robinson, the new executive director of OutServe-SLDN, says the announcement is simply a delay tactic.
"'Equality can wait' has never been the answer, but that’s the message the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses is sending with its tepid and dismissive statement today," Robinson said in a statement Thursday. "It's certainly not the answer for Ashley Broadway or the families of gay and lesbian service members at Ft. Bragg and on military installations across the country, who like all our men and women in uniform, need support during the holiday season perhaps more than any other time of year. Thsi group doesn't need a meeting; Ashley clearly qualifies under its existing, approved bylaws. It simply needs to accept Ashley into its membership, and it should do so immediately."
SLDN has reached out to the Department of Defense, urging leaders to address the disparities that same-sex military couples must face after "don't ask, don't tell," largely due to the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.
"The Pentagon has dragged its feet on this issue for far too long, and it’s time for the Secretary to act," Robinson said. "Situations like the one at Ft. Bragg could be avoided if commanders were given the guidance they need to address these issues with consistency. All it takes is the stroke of a pen."