HRC Blog

Update: Military Spouses Group That Rejected Wife of Lesbian Servicemember Responds

The Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses is responding to the outcry over their rejection of the wife of a lesbian servicemember: they’re promising to hold a meeting next month to “review the request;” even though there’s no reason why the group shouldn’t promptly welcome the servicemember’s wife into their ranks.

The Association originally told the wife that she could not join because she didn’t possess a military ID. Only opposite-sex spouses of servicemembers are eligible to receive a military ID card - one of many barriers that same-sex military families face because of the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). However, the Association isn’t directly affiliated with the military – meaning there’s no reason they can’t accept spouses of servicemembers regardless of whether they possess a military ID. And, until the group’s website was hastily updated, it made no mention of requiring members to have an ID.

It’s unacceptable that the Association is singling out someone who is legally married to a servicemember. This is a family that, like all military families, has made and continues to make so many sacrifices for the good of our country. OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson called on the group to do the right thing and welcome the servicemember’s wife immediately:

‘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. 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 the year. The 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.

It’s been nearly two years since the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and more than a year since repeal was successfully implemented. However, the Pentagon still must issue guidance on how to best handle benefits and supports for same-sex military families in light of DOMA. 

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