Ashley Broadway, who is legally married to Army Lieutenant Colonel Heather Mack, applied to the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses earlier in December but was told she didn’t qualify—even though she and her partner have been together for 15 years.
Broadway made her case in a letter:
I have endured deployments and several TDYs, and I’ll continue to comfort our son and newborn daughter as they watch her leave on the next. When I decided to dedicate myself to my spouse, I knew all too well I was dedicating myself to the Army as well.
My record of service to the military community would be an outstanding addition to your group. I began volunteering to assist military families. As an educator, I would often tutor “Army Brats” in reading. I briefed inbound families on the different school districts, assisting in housing location decisions. I have worked with local Humane Societies to help deployed Soldiers find temporary homes for their pets while they deploy, and most recently, I volunteer as a family coordinator for the American Military Partner Association, assisting other military members with same-sex partners and their families work through the existing inequalities we face.
…I am dedicated to my spouse and the country we love. I was excited to stumble upon your Facebook page, and to see an organization whose values and enthusiasm were so in line with my own. I read through your mission and the description of your club and found a club where I could continue to make a difference. I was overjoyed when I read that the club is made up of military spouses dedicated to the tradition of the Army, while moving towards its vision of tomorrow.
My families, and families like mine, are included in the vision of tomorrow’s Army. Please keep in mind that DADT was repealed over a year ago. Our Commander-in-Chief supports us; I was the first same-sex military spouse invited by the First Lady to attend her Mother’s Day Tea. We are a part of the face of this country’s future, and the White House, Pentagon, and many other posts are leaning forward to embrace this progression.
A petition has been started to get the spouses’ organization to change its mind, but we’re not holding our breath: Broadway was told she didn’t qualify for the group because she didn’t have an “active ID card.” But that requirement wasn’t added to the group’s charter until after Broadway asked to join.
“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,” said OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson. “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.”
OutServe-SLDN is reaching out to General Dan Allyn, base commander at Fort Bragg, to resolve the issue.