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 The military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was repealed in 2011, allowing members who are gay and lesbian to be open about their sexuality without facing legal rebuke.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.

Post by:
Filed under: Marines
soundoff (434 Responses)
  1. Pragmatic Man

    I can't help but find it humorous as I read these comments. The comments by the anti-gay troupe read like talking points, do you ever even stop to think about the logic behind your statements?

    Ah well, the good news is that you are a declining section of the population, both naturally and politically. Enjoy the last few years of pumping your fist in anger and think fondly of how your grand children will read about your viewpoints in history books. However, your delusions will not be put in those history books, instead you will be portrayed as social dinosaurs towing the line. Enjoy your fist pumping.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:09 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Patrish

      That's an interesting point. I wonder what some grandchildren would think of some of the off line remarks posted everywhere. It will interesting to see what happens in the next 20 years. Oh, wait – at my age I probably won't be here in 20 years – 70 and moving right along.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse |
  2. AF Retired

    The Officer's Wifes Club at Pope AFB (co-located with Ft. Bragg) should reach out and offer her a membership.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:09 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • promok

      great idea!!! I hope they do.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:14 am | Report abuse |
    • Ad

      Pope is part of Bragg now as Pope Army air field, very few AF left

      January 10, 2013 at 11:29 am | Report abuse |
    • AF Retired

      I feel pretty confident that the AF side will still have its own O Wifes club.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:51 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jack

    Neither do people without children who have aged past childbearing age, we should take away their rights too then?

    January 10, 2013 at 11:11 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. promok

    sad for this family but not at all surprised. I am a military spouse and these officer clubs are a joke. we did nothing constructive other than meet at expensive restaurants to 'chat' while our spouses were deployed. some of the wives in this group were petty, full of themselves and enjoyed talking down about others, especially enlisted wives. like the spouse in the article, I HATED being associated w/ these so-called 'ladies' and, if we ever get assigned back on a sub, I will politely keep myself at a distance and not bother w/ their drama. from my experience at this base, I related much easier to enlisted spouses and the family support group that supported both kinds of spouses.
    I feel sorry for this military family but, honestly, you're much happier finding another group or starting your own.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:14 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • promok

      *** ooops. mark that "like the spouse in the article part. I meant to say that I was pregnant and was taking care of a toddler like the spouse currently is but ended up cutting it out. ***

      sad for this family but not at all surprised. I am a military spouse and these officer clubs are a joke. we did nothing constructive other than meet at expensive restaurants to 'chat' while our spouses were deployed. some of the wives in this group were petty, full of themselves and enjoyed talking down about others, especially enlisted wives. I HATED being associated w/ these so-called 'ladies' and, if we ever get assigned back on a sub, I will politely keep myself at a distance and not bother w/ their drama. from my experience at this base, I related much easier to enlisted spouses and the family support group that supported both kinds of spouses.
      I feel sorry for this military family but, honestly, you're much happier finding another group or starting your own.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:19 am | Report abuse |
  5. jlaylor

    I gotta say... I recall that the Marines were the last to get in line with gays openly serving in the military and the first to implement it. Discipline is first and foremost in the Marines, and it shows in their ability to get behind policies that they may not necessarily support on a personal level. I never served, but my father was a 25 year member of the Army. I am a bit ashamed that the Army is showing far less discipline and integrity than the Marines. I am VERY proud, not that the Marines are 'accepting' gays in the military, but that they are acting as soldiers who follow orders, sometimes difficult orders. Hooyah!

    January 10, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  6. Yvette

    Thank you Wilson

    January 10, 2013 at 11:15 am | Report abuse | Reply
  7. jerrystinger

    Son/Baby-girl, I love you. When you grow up I want you to be strong. I want you to learn how to take care of yourself and be a productive member of society. In order for you to do that you gotta hate them gays and anybody that don't look like us. Because they don't belong in our society. They ain't even equal to us.
    But daddy, Jesus said love thy neighbor and do unto others as you would have them do unto you. Baby-girl, Jesus was talkin' about us loving each other. He wasn't talkin' bout gays and people that ain't American. But Daddy, teacher says that anybody who hates someone fer no reason or 'nother is insecure. Son, teachers don't know nothin'. Just do what daddy tells ya. Cause I love ya and want you to be a proud. proud American.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:17 am | Report abuse | Reply
  8. Larry

    It is amusing to see all of the paranoid 'world is ending' posts.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Surfer George

      Not so funny if they are the ones PLANNING the end of the world – you know how "Religious" crazies can be.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
  9. Laura

    Noah's Ark? That's your 21st century argument?? This is not about whether you approve of gay people or whether anyone does. It's about discrimination. We don't live in a country where you try to keep people out who you don't like. Those spouses are free to NOT invite this woman to their house; they are not free to discriminate on US Government property.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:22 am | Report abuse | Reply
  10. umm no

    Sorry bud, but federal agencies and their staff don't get to practice bigotry..

    January 10, 2013 at 11:27 am | Report abuse | Reply
  11. JohnC

    agree, we should not allow infertile people to marry. Get tested for fertility and you can only get married if fertile.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:29 am | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Patrish

    Those military wives can be very petty. They use their husbands rank to instill proper behavior among the other wives... at least they did 20 years ago. Probably much as not changed. She's better off with out them.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:29 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • anchorite

      You're right. The officers spouses' club is often used as a way for the wives of the high ranking officers to enforce the same type of hierarchy among the wives of lower ranking officers that their husbands do on the job. Why be someone's subordinate merely because your husband has to?

      January 10, 2013 at 11:43 am | Report abuse |
    • al

      Being raised in a military family and the son of an officer I can assure you that my mother was expected to behave in a particular fashion. That is just the way it is. When a woman marries a military man she marries the military. It is the same in the corporate world. As more women gain power the same thing will happen to the husbands of those women. You may not like it but that is the way it is.

      January 10, 2013 at 11:46 am | Report abuse |
  13. harriet

    Well, RE, here's you, just another bigot worrying about someone else's life and marriage when they should worry about the quality of their own life and howthey live it

    January 10, 2013 at 11:32 am | Report abuse | Reply
  14. eric

    I think the unicorns were. LOL

    January 10, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
  15. Mike

    I think the business needs to go off base so they wont have to deal with gooberment.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:34 am | Report abuse | Reply
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14

Post a comment


 

CNN welcomes a lively and courteous discussion as long as you follow the Rules of Conduct set forth in our Terms of Service. Comments are not pre-screened before they post. You agree that anything you post may be used, along with your name and profile picture, in accordance with our Privacy Policy and the license you have granted pursuant to our Terms of Service.