Activists: Fort Bragg officials using ‘delay tactic’ after alleged anti-gay discrimination

Army officer's wife denied entry to group for officers' spouses

Originally published: Dec. 20, 2012, 6:10 p.m.
Updated: Dec. 20, 2012, 6:59 p.m.

Ashley Broadway and her son. Courtesy American Military Partners Association (src).

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — There was no progress made today after a meeting between a wife of a lesbian Army officer and officials at the Fort Bragg Army base, report activists working on behalf of lesbian mother Ashley Broadway.

- - - advertisement - - -

Broadway says she was denied membership in the Association of Fort Bragg Officer’s Spouses. Her wife, whom she legally married in November, is a lieutenant colonel based at the installation.

Broadway and her wife, Lt. Col. Heather Mack met with Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. Jeffrey Sanborn on Thursday morning. At Mack’s suggestion, Sanborn agreed to help schedule a meeting of between her wife and leaders of the spouses’ group.

“Today’s meeting was yet another delay tactic by the command at Fort Bragg and produced nothing more for Ashley and her family than additional delay,” OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson, an Army veteran, said in a release. “Our families don’t need more meetings; they need leadership. We need Lieutenant General Daniel Allyn, the commanding general at Fort Bragg, to use his command influence to bring this discrimination to an end immediately and ensure that Ashley and other same-sex spouses are treated equally in his community.”

OutServe-SLDN, an advocacy organization for LGBT members of the U.S. Armed Forces, has repeatedly said Broadway’s case and others across the country exemplify inconsistencies in how U.S. Department of Defense agencies and associated organizations are handling the integration of openly LGBT people and their families into military service and life. Other same-sex spouses across the country have faced similar discrimination, while others have had little problems.

“This situation at Fort Bragg is the logical outcome of an abdication of leadership responsibility by the most senior officials at the Pentagon, and it must end now – not only for Ashley Broadway and her family, but for all gay and lesbian military families who put their lives on the line for our nation every single day,” said Robinson.

- - - advertisement - - -

Broadway’s situation was originally shared as an open letter on the website of the American Military Partner Association. That organization, primarily working with Broadway, also responded to today’s meeting with Fort Bragg officials.

Stephen Peters, executive director of the American Military Partner Association, said today’s meeting offers hope that positive change might occur in the Fort Bragg community.

Broadway also took a positive outlook.

“While I’m disappointed that there was no solution to my situation with the spouse club membership,” Broadway said after the meeting, according to a release, ” I was encouraged by the opportunity to discuss not only my situation, but the challenges faced by other gay and lesbian military families at Fort Bragg. I look forward to ongoing discussion with the Garrison command on how to better the lives of our military families.”

The American Military Partner Association is asking supporters to sign a petition in support of Broadway.

Both OutServe-SLDN and the American Military Partner Association say there are no legal requirements keeping the Fort Bragg spouses’ group from allowing Broadway to join. The federal Defense of Marriage Act applies only to benefits and other services offered directly by the federal government. The spouses’ group is a private, non-profit organization.

- - - advertisement - - -

Posted by Matt Comer

Matt Comer previously served as editor from October 2007 through August 2015 and as a staff writer afterward in 2016.