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 The military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was repealed in 2011, allowing members who are gay and lesbian to be open about their sexuality without facing legal rebuke.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

    Gay relation is not natural and has consequences and don't except the same respect and response as proper relationships.
    Fundamental concept of relationship is not just intimate relationship between two individuals but to continue the generation with children which is not possible by man-man or woman-woman. It's ok if man-man or woman-woman has intimate relation but it's NEVER the same as other relations which we have for generations

    January 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      yes ban infertile hetero couples from getting married.

      being gay is not normal in the sense that it is an outlier on the bell curve of humans but we have countless other examples of that (being very tall, short, infertile heteros, lactose intolerant, etc. All of these are not normal but quite natural. Not being normal does often have some disadvantages (tall people can't fit in many cars and infertile people can't bear children) and sometimes not normal people have advantages. But all this is quite different than being wrong. You can't ban something just because it offends you or we would have to ban all sorts of strange food, music, tatoos, and people with really really big noses.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • geo

      You probably said the same thing about interracial marriages didn't you? Bigotry at its worst!

      January 10, 2013 at 12:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Critik

      No, there is nothing wrong with interracial marriages. The only problem what I can think of is cultural differences between races but they are the same human beings. As long as the two (man-woman) tune each other there is no problem.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  2. summero

    From a Marine family – Most Marines think in terms of "Semper Fi". They are Marines first, family men (or women) second, political activists third, and on down the list.... I bet you a MILLION DOLLARS that this Marine's fellow soldiers (at least those that know her) would vote to defend their fellow soldier and companion/spouse. I personally do not agree with gays int he Military but I would let the soldiers decide. They know what is going on better than anyone else. They can tell the difference between people limelighting and jumping into a political game and those who are true to their faith, feelings and beliefs. Who are we to judge – let the locals opine.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  3. NVa NAtive

    All the lizard brains are out judging and insulting everyone with their self-righteous personal choice of religion blended with ignorance – disgusting bigotry. Hopefully your hate will continue to shrivel up and blow away in the daylight more and more with each generation.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
  4. SilentPro21


    January 10, 2013 at 12:50 pm | Report abuse |
  5. RGary

    But how does she attend club meetings when she cannot get a dependent ID card to be on base. She can't legally go on base (even with her spouse) without a pass or and ID card. Technically what the club said was that she was rejected because she didn't have an ID card.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. MK

    Sad. The US Marines was the only branch of the service with any honor, integrity and morals. Shame.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • USMC 84-04

      No it's Honor, Courage and Commitment! unless the are going to change that also!
      Commitment to our beliefs that gay is wrong.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:18 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Kris

    It is funny how the “Anyone who wants to defend their country is an American Hero to me” goes out the window when you actually put it to a real world situation. Why would anyone not allow her spouse to go to the club? Durrrr? It is being discriminatory and you can’t paint it any other color. I know bigots hat to be called bigots because the truth hurts too much. Get over your petty little self and understand that the world is changing, and it will change again and again. Bigots are the problem and they should have to leave society, not the people who are trying to carve a place in this scary world. I hope that all gay and straight people find some peace, love and happiness… I find it amazing that the same people who have a problem with her spouse are the same ones who are calling her fat. You are a bunch of pin heads that are ignorant and mean. The Church is no longer an excuse to hate without reproach

    January 10, 2013 at 1:02 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Vincent

    agree big biz 2

    January 10, 2013 at 1:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Peter

    To me, the desire to fight and kill people you don't know for no other reason than the government told me is the very perversion that your so-called "military fabric" is made of. It's also the perversion that makes many people around the world hate us. So your admonishment of a couple who loves each other and demands respect and love for and from others only confirms my understanding that the military, as it represents the United States, has no place for respect and love for others.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  10. of course

    Of course she was rejected because she was gay and I support it! Being gay is morally corrupt and irresponsible.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Days verb

    The Mayans were right, it's happening, they were just a little off.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • gladiatorgrl

      Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria!

      OMG people get to love each other – "the sky is falling the sky is falling" Chicken Little

      If she can defend her country she deserves to have her significant other treated with RESPECT as the AMERICANS they are!!!

      January 10, 2013 at 1:11 pm | Report abuse |
  12. MightyMoo

    Nice! Bout time they got treated the same as everyone else, especially when clubs were using Government resources for their functions and stuff.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:07 pm | Report abuse |
  13. gardner mackay

    perverts promoting perverted agendas...nothing more, nothing less. you are witnessing the beginning of the end of this once great country...check back when you're playing with your grandkids and you say "I remember when......"

    January 10, 2013 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob

      Could you be any more ignorant? Perverts? Really? How is two people in love perverted? Oh.....lemee guess; because of your misinterpretation of some religious belief you believe it's perverted for two people of the same gender to love one another? How sad for you. You don't know what love is; only hate. I feel sorry for you.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cindy


      January 10, 2013 at 1:16 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      Do heteros engage in any "preverted" activites?

      Cut the HYPOCRISY.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steven Gomer

      More likely, I'd say remember when ignorant bigots like Gardner Mackay felt comfortable making such comments because equality for all people wasn't the norm?

      January 10, 2013 at 1:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • RW

      "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!"

      January 10, 2013 at 1:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • S Kyle

      I remember when black people weren't allowed to eat in our restaurants, weren't allowed to marry whites, weren't allowed to sit in classrooms with white children. I remember when women weren't allowed to vote, weren't allowed to marry for love, weren't allowed to work outside of the home. Yeah, Gardner... I remember when... I remember how awful and disgusting our past has been and I'll be glad when people like you are finally dead and your grandchildren rule the world and humanity can evolve past this bottleneck of small-minded bigotry.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • James PDX

      Perversion is a highly subjective term. You may define it one way, while others choose a different way. Why should people be restricted to living by your definition of things? Are you somehow mentally superior to everyone else? Based on your post, you clearly are not.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm | Report abuse |
  14. ReyRey

    Typical of officer wives to think they hold their husbands rank and can look down their nose at you. I'm not surprised at all really.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
  15. AuntySocial

    The Marines have always been more advanced in thinking than the other branches of the military.

    January 10, 2013 at 1:09 pm | Report abuse |
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