January 10th, 2013
09:37 AM ET

Marine Corps to spouse clubs: Allow same-sex members or you don't operate on base

It apparently takes more than a few good men, according to the U.S. Marine Corps. It takes all kinds of people to support military families, including same-sex spouses of service members.

CNN published a story this week about a woman married to a female lieutenant colonel at Fort Bragg who believes she was rejected from an officers' spouse club because she's gay.  Less than a day later, Maj. Gen. Vaughn Ary advised Marine Corps legal staff such clubs conducting business on its bases must admit same-same spouses. If they do not, the clubs will be barred from meeting on any Marine Corps installation.

Ary wrote that clubs cannot discriminate against any member because of "race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, or national origin. We would interpret a spouse's club's decision to exclude a same-sex spouse as sexual discrimination because the exclusion was based upon the spouse's sex."

Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan, who provided a portion of the memo to CNN, said, "We expect that all who are interested in supporting Marine Corps Family Readiness would be welcome to participate and will be treated with dignity and respect."

Flanagan said the Marines Corps was clarifying its policy for its members and would not have control over activities concerning Fort Bragg which is an Army installation.

Fort Bragg Garrison Commander Col. Jeffrey Sanborn, told CNN earlier this week that he could do nothing about Ashley Broadway's rejection by the Association of Bragg Officers' club because the group was private. On Thursday, Bragg spokesman Ben Abel told CNN that Sanborn has not received any guidance from Army lawyers that would change what the garrison commander said previously.

Broadway told CNN she was happy about the statement the Marines gave, but that more could be done. She said that the spouse club at Bragg has not reached out to her.

"I hope that the Pentagon and Secretary of Defense will take some action on this," she said. "They can step in and change some policies too so this wouldn't be a problem for any service member no matter their branch."

The Defense Department has said that it must follow federal law set forth in the Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed in 1996 that denies many benefits to same-sex spouses. The military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was repealed in 2011, allowing members who are gay and lesbian to be open about their sexuality without facing legal rebuke.

This week, Broadway was named one of several nominees to be Military Spouse of the Year 2013.  Tens of thousands of military personnel will vote on the nominees.

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Filed under: Marines
soundoff (434 Responses)
  1. Sgt_Jake

    Gurgyl, you're just mad because they stopped issuing lizard skin body armor.
    My battle axe and I have no problem with this – don't care who the Marine loves as long as he does his job.
    Semper Fi.

    January 10, 2013 at 5:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. pje4191

    Just more political correct nonsense. This club should start to meet off base to make the point that they will not be bullied by this liberal base commander.

    January 10, 2013 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Other Bob

      What "liberal base commander" would that be? Col. Sanborn took no action. There is something to be said for reading comprehension, or, in your case, lack thereof.

      January 28, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pje4191

    I guess anyone who wants to keep traditions like marriage the same are now bigots.

    January 10, 2013 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Leopold B Stotch

    Just close the clubs.

    January 10, 2013 at 9:48 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  5. Nana Bowman

    People who read Old Testment in the Bible about King David and Jonathan son of Saul may wonder what kind of relationship between these men?

    January 11, 2013 at 9:03 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. some guy

    Meanwhile at the Pentagon Situation Room....

    January 11, 2013 at 11:21 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. Rascal Rabble

    interesting...the military has made itself a judicial body! i believe north carolina does not reconize and bans same s3x marriage in its const tu tion. such gall that policy can upsurp law and the will of the north carolina citizens. they should file a congressional complaint to their rep that this militant commander don't have the exclusive power to undermine and overturn the representative processes of the citizens of north carolina. that commander should be reassigned to a base/state which tolerates such lewd indiscretions.

    January 12, 2013 at 6:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Other Bob

      It's a federal installation, so military regulations and orders prevail.

      January 28, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Anonymous

    RIP USA

    January 13, 2013 at 4:39 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Other Bob

      Your version of the USA should die. Alas, it continues to thrive in many benighted minds.

      January 28, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Anonymous

    So, when can we expect soldiers marrying children? Or soldiers marrying cats, goats, & dead people? Is the Marines "the few, the proud" that support NAMBLA? I think I'm gonna be sick

    January 13, 2013 at 5:54 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • The Other Bob

      Too late. Yoare already sick, as in mentally ill.

      January 28, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  10. SSgt Ron Zielinski

    This is disgusting. Not the proud Corps I served with in Vietnam. Glad I am long since out.

    January 16, 2013 at 12:37 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • scotty501

      out of the closet?

      January 16, 2013 at 7:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • Weasley

      Well, SSgt Zielinski, if you're a xenophobe and a bigot, then we're all glad you're out of the Marines. Thanks for your service, but this is the 21st century. There's no room for the ignorant and the intolerant in the Marines, or any other American Armed Services.

      January 19, 2013 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Suzanne

    I'm so glad that the Maj Gen made this statement! I hope the government and other military branches head in the same direction.

    January 21, 2013 at 10:57 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Lao

    All the more reasons to repeal DOMA, so that all deserving spouses and family members can enjoy EQUAL benefits. A unified voice is needed, and maybe a "boycott" of those clubs!

    January 23, 2013 at 1:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  13. Welllll

    You know how many guys in the military they have probably heard that from? It only reinforces the fact that they just aren't attracted to males.

    January 23, 2013 at 6:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  14. Cedric

    While I will never agree with the LGBT lifestyle, I will also never agree with discrimination. Tolerance(agreeing to disagree) still requires respect of other peoples opinion. That being said, those in the LGBT community need to practice what they preach.

    February 24, 2013 at 7:09 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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