Pentagon Pressured to Revise Policies, Include Gay Military Spouses

By Sunnivie Brydum

Originally published on Advocate.com January 17 2013 4:48 PM ET

Pressure continues to mount on the Pentagon to take the lead in revising military regulations so that same-sex spouses of service members can be issued military IDs and be included in spousal clubs and other on-base events, organizations, and benefits.

Several LGBT organizations called on the Pentagon to revise military policies drafted before the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell," that, as-written, permit discrimination based on sexual orientation, since homosexuality was a military offense punishable by discharge until 2011, when Congress repealed DADT.  

Late Tuesday night, Buzzfeed reported that the Pentagon announced that it would not intervene in the Army's decision to continue to deny membership to Ashley Broadway, who is married to a female lieutenant colonel stationed at the Ft. Bragg Army base in North Carolina.

By contrast, the U.S. Marine Corps issued guidance last week mandating inclusion for same-sex spouses, in an effort to avoid the type of controversy currently boiling over Ft. Bragg.

"It makes no sense that the spouse of a service member can face discrimination in one branch of the Armed Services yet be protected from discrimination in another," said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin in a statement released Wednesday. "This situation would not have occurred if the Pentagon was not dragging its heels on updating military regulations to include the families of gay service members.”

OutServe-Servicemembers Legal Defense Network today filed a Freedom of Information Act request for documents and correspondence pertaining to Ft. Bragg's decision to deny Broadway membership in the spouses' club. 

"Gay and lesbian military families at Fort Bragg and throughout the armed services deserve to know if their chain of command is working for them or against them," said Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson in a statement. "If there is a coordinated effort that would undermine the principle that every service member and his or her family should be treated impartially, our nation's leaders at the Pentagon need to know as well." 

A Ft. Bragg spokesperson told Buzzfeed that The Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses has no intention to admit Broadway, and fell back on existing antidiscrimination law to support that decision.

"The Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses, to the judgment that we have here at Fort Bragg, are not in violation of federal discrimination laws because federal discrimination laws don't extend to sexual orientation," said the spokesperson.