Homosexual Denied Membership in Army Spouse’s Club

Update: The Fort Bragg spouse group says some of the public accusations against them are “misrepresented.”

A homosexual woman lodged a public complaint after being denied membership in Fort Bragg’s “Association of Officers’ Spouses.”

[Ashley] Broadway said the social group — which is not an official military organization — told her she could not join because while she has a marriage certificate, she doesn’t have a military spouse ID…

Broadway says the clause about the ID card was added after she was denied, in what she believes was an effort to exclude same-sex spouses.

Broadway has indicated that she “has a case…because the group violated their by-laws.”  Notably, that hinges on the definition of the word spouse.   Federally, homosexuals are not recognized as “married.”  In North Carolina, which is where Fort Bragg is located, the state Constitution defines marriage as a man and woman.  In that regard, Broadway’s argument fails because she isn’t a “spouse,” though that may still depend on one’s political leanings.

Conveniently, Broadway works for the American Military Partner Association — which, just coincidentally, is a homosexual advocacy group focused on obtaining benefits for homosexual partners of military members.

Naturally, her group publicized the decision and condemned it: 

The AMPA said the decision to deny Broadway membership is “a direct attack on same-sex spouses of service members”…

Both the AMPA and the article note the Fort Bragg group is not a government organization — meaning it can essentially do whatever it wants.  Also, some Officer Spouses Clubs at other locations have reportedly been accepting of homosexual partners.

The melodrama surrounding Officers Spouses Clubs (or Officers Wives Clubs, as they were once known) is not confined to the recent changes regarding homosexuals in the military.  OSCs have frequently had spats over accepting fiancés, girlfriends, or even active duty female members who may or may not have a military husband.  (While it may vary among services and it does occasionally happen, men do not frequently join “spouse” groups.)

Ultimately, the social groups are free to make the decisions their members agree upon.

Broadway acknowledges the group is not obligated to admit her, yet she is essentially trying to force them to do so, via negative publicity, if nothing else.  She admits she’s doing it to make a point:

I am out to inform the public that LGBT military families are not being treated fairly.

As has been repeated here many times, even mentioning the “T” demonstrates ignorance, since “transgendered” individuals are banned from military service.  As far as the “LGB,” under federal law they are treated equally with other unmarried military “families,” which, semantically speaking, is “fair.”

To be clear, most military spouse groups already discriminate.  For example, to be a part of the Fort Bragg group one has to be an officer’s spouse — not enlisted — and one also has to be married — not a live-in girlfriend, even if its long-term and “serious.”  Certainly, an argument could be made that those groups could use support, too (and those arguments have been made).  It may not be “fair” to exclude those or other groups, either.  The point is spouse groups are free to define their own membership, and they have done so.

To be fair, many people struggle with the best way to “support” a person who has chosen a lifestyle with which they disagree without simultaneously condoning that lifestyle.  Some families become estranged, for example, over parents’ unwillingness to “condone” the decision by their son or daughter to live with someone without getting married.  Others arrive at a compromise that grants them some degree of a relationship.  Similarly, homosexuals living with US troops would likely benefit even from some basic social support provided by a spouse group — but, like the rest of society, some in that group will struggle with their desire to provide support without condoning the lifestyle.

Notably, there were repeated assurances that DADT repeal would be transparent, and even a year out a “report” was issued saying repeal was a non-event.  Critics of the report pointed out there are many buttons yet to push in the post repeal environment.  For example, for this spouse group, DADT repeal is not a “non-event” — even though DADT repeal technically had nothing to do with them.

There is more yet to come on this subject.  The Supreme Court has taken up the challenges to the Defense of Marriage Act, which is currently the only thing preventing homosexuals from being recognized as “married” within the military benefits system.  In another relevant issue, the Army continues its Strong Bonds marriage enrichment program, which is run by the Chaplaincy.  The “collision” of homosexual couples, a program intended to support traditional marriage, and chaplains who may be theologically opposed to homosexuality has yet to publicly occur.



  • Straight Against Hate

    To be fair, Broadway’s complaint, as you so clearly put it, is that the bigoted social group changed its bylaws to single her out and lock her out, based on her innate characteristic. Do they do this to others whose innate characteristics they bigottedly abhor? Examples would include skin color, mental ability, heredity, not to mention religious background.

    To be fair, it is wrong of you to characterize homosexuality as a lifestyle choice. You might as well characterize mid-African skin as a color choice.

    To be fair, what is immoral, here, is the un-Christlike ostracization going on, complete with religious (dare I say, Christian) underpinnings. Ghandi was right, when he said, “I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

  • @Straight Against Hate
    As noted above, the spouse group lawfully discriminates on several characteristics. Your question would have been answered had you read before commenting.

    it is wrong of you to…what is immoral, here, is…

    You apparently fail to see the irony in criticizing moral judgments by making moral judgments.

    Behavior and skin color are not morally equivalent.

    In re: “bigot.” You keep using that word

  • Actually, it’s not true that spouse clubs “are free to make the decisions their members agree upon.” As non-federal entities operating on federal installations, spouse clubs are subject to DoD Instruction 1000.15 which imposes many restrictions. One of these restrictions is: “No person because of race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, or national origin shall be unlawfully denied membership, unlawfully excluded from participation, or otherwise subjected to unlawful discrimination by any non-Federal entity or other private organization covered by this Instruction.” Of course one will immediately note that sexual orientation is not included here. It is also not included in the DoD equal opportunity policy. It seems self-evident to me that it is just as unethical to discriminate based on sexual orientation as gender, race, etc. so I believe the spirit of the regulation applies here, but I’m sure many of you will disagree. Regarding the anathema for “condoning” a lifestyle you feel is immoral, I ask that you spend more energy celebrating religious freedom and less on imposing your beliefs on others. If you believe your own gospel, God will do the judging, so let’s leave that to the expert.

  • @JM
    You accurately note DoD policies do not state groups are obligated to accept homosexuals as members. Nicely done.

    less on imposing your beliefs on others

    The only person here attempting to “impose” on others is a homosexual advocate.

  • @JD

    I think you have missed my point. While I would love to get in a snarkiness contest with you sometime, my point here is that discrimination is wrong and DoD acknowledges that with regulations on non-federal entities that limit it. It is true that sexual orientation is not yet included in the language of the law, but the repeal of DADT is relatively recent and it takes time to update policy.

    The only belief that I am trying to impose by participating in this discussion is that our founding fathers created a nation in which its citizens have every freedom that does not infringe on the freedoms of others. The right for homosexuals to marry, for instance, does not infringe on anyone else’s rights in any way. It might be contrary to one’s beliefs, but it does not infringe on his rights or limit his freedom. On the other hand, denying one the right to marry is a direct limitation on one’s freedom. We live in a diverse country where people hold different beliefs. If we make laws based on religious beliefs rather than the maximization of personal freedom, we become what our ancestors came to America to escape.

  • @JM

    my point here is that discrimination is wrong…

    That’s a pretty broad statement. You probably don’t mean to say it is wrong for the military to discriminate against the obese (when it involuntarily discharges them) or against disabled people (when it refuses to enlist them). Both the military and society lawfully discriminate. As written, what the group did was not unlawful.

    not yet included in the…law…it takes time to update policy.

    You appear to be unaware of how DADT repeal occurred. The DoD reports on DADT repeal explicitly recommended homosexuality not be added to the list of protected classes. That was what was instituted. It was a conscious policy decision, not a lack of time.

    The only belief that I am trying to impose…

    That comment wasn’t directed toward you. A homosexual is attempting to impose herself on a group. It is ridiculous to suggest that is at all related to someone else “imposing [their] beliefs on others.”

    You are correct in your implication the full effects of the acceptance of open homosexuality in the US military have not played out. That’s what some observers have been saying for some time. This spouse group theoretically had nothing to do with DADT repeal — yet they are very specifically affected by it.

  • Well the US Marine Corp spoke….they have to admit gay couples or the club has to leave base. I love when Equality wins over bigotry. :) Bigot: Merriam-Webster: a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially : one who regards or treats the members of a group with hatred and intolerance.

  • @CJ
    You seem to be confused. You’re referring to a US Marine Corps policy that came out today. Fort Bragg is Army, so that policy has no effect. In fact, as of yesterday Fort Bragg said the group’s bylaws and rules complied with DoD policies.

    Your definition of “bigotry” demonstrates you are misusing the word.

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