The Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses, the military spouses group at Ft. Bragg, has offered a “guest membership” to Ashley Broadway, the same-sex spouse of Lt. Col. Heather Mack who they blocked last month from joining. In fact, the group arbitrarily changed its rules to require an active ID card — a benefit same-sex spouses are not currently afforded — specifically to keep her from being eligible. In the letter offering the guest membership, the Association of Bragg Officers Spouses (ABOS) claimed it has been reviewing its by-laws since July 2012, but the timing is definitely suspect.
Though the “guest membership” may provide temporary relief for Broadway, it is not a workable solution to the discrimination at hand. Stephen Peters, executive director of the American Military Partner Association, offered this reaction to BuzzFeed:
PETERS: Ashley is not a ‘guest’ military spouse. She is a military spouse, plain and simple. So the idea that the organization, in order to end the negative attention they are getting because of their outright discrimination, wants to give her a ‘guest membership’ is not only offensive, but ridiculous. The ABOS openly admits a military ID card is not listed as a requirement, yet they continue to deny her full membership.
Both the Ft. Bragg leadership and Pentagon have refused to take accountability for allowing the spouses’ group’s discrimination to persist and the Army has remained silent. The organization is private and is not obligated to abide by the Defense of Marriage Act, so the anti-gay discrimination is totally of its own accord. Meanwhile, the Marines responded by prohibiting such discrimination on their bases.