Ashley Broadway’s wife and partner of 15 years is an officer stationed at Ft. Bragg in North Carolina, and now that the two are legally married, she sought to join the Officers’ Spouse Club on base. Unfortunately, she was told she “does not qualify.” It seems, however, that the group is going to extensive lengths to keep her out of the club, including arbitrary changes to its policy.
The group told Broadway that she could only join if the military issued her an “active ID card,” but the Pentagon has refused to offer this service to same-sex spouses since the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. That rule, however, is not listed in the group’s bylaws and was only added to the website and now-defunct Facebook page this week after Broadway published her open letter about experiencing discrimination. (The website also, incidentally, removed the last names of the group’s board members.) It seems the group is simply manufacturing reasons to prevent her from joining, and simultaneously trying to hide.
Conservatives argue that the Defense of Marriage Act limits the extent that the military can recognize same-sex marriages, but OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson points out that DOMA is irrelevant in this matter regardless:
ROBINSON: The facts here are simple: there is no legal need or justification for any spouse to be excluded from a group like this, which exists to provide support to the spouses and families of our military men and women and the communities they serve. Though the organization operates on Ft. Bragg with permission from the Commanding General, the group is not formally affiliated with the military and is not required to bar membership to Ashley. In the absence of a reply from the Association, we are left with no option but to reach out to the base’s leadership. General Allyn needs to know if there is discrimination happening against the military families in his community.
Broadway told BuzzFeed that the rejection “pierced our hearts” and made her feel like she was “second-class.”
This post has been updated to correct the spelling of Broadway’s name.