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 The military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was repealed in 2011, allowing members who are gay and lesbian to be open about their sexuality without facing legal rebuke.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

    None, because Noah's Ark is a fantasy story. It has as much grounding in reality as Harry Potter.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  2. aeh

    Histrionic much?

    January 10, 2013 at 11:57 am | Report abuse | Reply
  3. jonathanweeston

    So what's your excuse?

    January 10, 2013 at 11:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  4. Erica

    @ Angry:
    -actually, the headline is not misleading. The story itself is about a memo released by the MARINE CORPS. If you read the entire article they go on to point out that the memo from the MARINE CORP came about after CNN did a story about an ARMY officer's wife at Ft. Bragg. It is not CNN's fault that you chose to only read the headline and became confused when the headline did not match the picture. If you had taken the time to read the entire article, you would have been a little less confused.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
  5. MacV

    1. This is an ARMY issue, so the Marine leadership input has no bearing on what happens on an ARMY post.
    2. I hope said Lt Col is fitter than she looks in this picture.

    January 10, 2013 at 11:59 am | Report abuse | Reply
    • Erica

      @ MacV
      -once again, the Lt Col is PREGNANT....that was in the original article about the couple. And really, why does it matter? If the Army has no problem with her size, why do you?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse |
    • Semour

      Have you ever walked around Bragg? Trust me, not everyone is the perfect physical specimen. I think there are quite a few that missed their daily PT.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:27 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Judith

    You do live in a wierd little fantasy world.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. ETM

    None. And there were no non-gay animals, either, since it is a mythological story.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:01 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. blessedgeek

    Modern medicine is bio-genetically engineered and therefore unnatural. If you cannot stand "unnatural", make sure you don't take any modern medicine. Please don't use FB or twitter either, because they have been demonstrated to be "unproductive" and a waste of time.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:02 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Correctlycenter

    God is good, atheism and those whose lifestyle is there god isn't. If you don't agree with this, take it up with God, He wrote the book, I didn't...

    January 10, 2013 at 12:03 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Nick

      You're right- you didn't write it, just that post with terrible grammar.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse |
    • Howard

      Wrong, Correctly, god didn't write it, either. A bunch of old men wrote it who were trying to scare a bunch a ignorant tribesmen into following them.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
  10. wallybird1234

    Good for the marines. Now the other branches just need to fall in line vis a vis equality. If they don't, we'll make you.

    Bigotry should find no safe haven in the armed forces.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:04 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Daedalus

      Well, the marine do tend to lead the way.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      "If you don't, we'll make you. Bigotry should find no safe haven in our armed forces."

      Threaten and call folks names all you like, doesn't change the fact that this issue isn't about gays. It's about DoD ID card holders and you're blaming the spouse's club instead of the law. Also doesn't change that fact that your own use of the word "bigotry" is infact bigotry. Do you have any idea what the word means? It's "intolerance of different views." Don't you think "If you don't, we'll make you" is a bit 'intolerant' of another view? Yeah, your whole party doesn't have a clue what the word means but you've been throwing it around like candy because you hear it all the time.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • roblearns

      It's impossible to know that someone is gay or that the gender of their spouse when they enter a club.

      The women in the picture could be two sisters for all I know. This story is missing the facts.

      If she wasn't allowed entry because she didn't have a department of defense ID card – that sounds like the type of problem that actually happens.

      Don't blame the club – issue the cards.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Arbogast

      Openly gay and lesbian Marines demonstrate one of the highest virtues of the Corps - courage.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • wootdude

      @ Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer
      If you read the whole story, not just this bit, you would find that they made the ID card holder rule after this lady tried to join the club. Previously, there was no ID requirement.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Jimh77

    Good, Marines are leading the way!!

    January 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. Nate

    I wonder how many millions of dollars this cost us.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • TC

      Letterhead and emails just aren't that expensive.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:12 pm | Report abuse |
    • someone

      Cost us? To support those serving our country and their families? Simply because it doesn't follow "your" lifestyle doesn't mean it's wrong.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

    Perhaps if these wonderful women were to start handing out free assault weapons to members of the club, they'd be appointed president and vice president of the club in no time. Shame on you right wing gun/bible toting haters.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:06 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • @ Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      *snore*

      I might care about your opinion if there was a democrat who ever actually made a contribution to society instead of demanding that the Republicans who do, do more.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:10 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Blah blah the wheel's off your trailer

      Yep. It was Bush and the Republicans who started the $1,000,000,000,000 war for FALSE REASONS.,

      January 10, 2013 at 12:16 pm | Report abuse |
  14. wallybird1234

    Good for the marines. Now the other branches need to fall in line vis a vis equality, and SOON. If you don't, we'll make you.

    Bigotry should find no safe haven in our armed forces.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:07 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  15. @ Athiest Libertarian

    "Sky fairy" does exist. Stay out of our lives.

    @Everyone else: This story isn't even about gay spouses. It was about DoD ID Card holders. The spouse made it about gays. She was denied for not having a DoD ID. The club can't change that. The DoD needs to change it's policy first.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:08 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • TC

      Didn't read the story, did you?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • @ Athiest Libertarian

      I won't if you don't tell 90% of Americans how to live either.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • wootdude

      @ Athiest Libertarian
      Actually the club changed its rules to specifically bar her. Originally there was no requirement for ID card holders.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:31 pm | Report abuse |
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