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 The military's Don't Ask, Don't Tell policy was repealed in 2011, allowing members who are gay and lesbian to be open about their sexuality without facing legal rebuke.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

    Why does something like this get so much publicity? When will people realise, GAY is NOT natural? What is wrong with just being very good friends but leave the unions and marriages to a man and a woman.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      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 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer

      Sara P.

      With 90% of people being right-handed, being lefft-handed is "not natural".

      Did yoiu have any point at all?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • RG

      Ignorance is not normal, but I accept that and you. Gay people have always existed and will always exist. Why do you care if they get the same rights? They pay the same taxes, hold jobs...they fight for our country. So they betty is married to Suzy. How exactly does that affect you?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Middle Aged Gay

      Just be good friends? There's a lot more to this than you realize...

      January 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      "Gays cannot procreate so why be in a union or marriage" yes we should require fertility testing of all hetero couples before they are allowed to marry.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sara - did YOU Serve in the military?

      Gay vets & servicemembers have risked – are risking – and have paid for with their lives so that BIGOTS like you can spew your hate.

      They also did that so that I can tell you to shove it, you cowardly sow.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Sara P.

      Let's see...I haven't called anyone any names or spewed hatred...if not thinking gay is wrong and not natural is bigotry...then I'm a bigot. I have my opinions and others have their own. And to think that girl in the picture wears a cross on her necklace amazes me.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      "if not thinking gay is wrong and not natural is bigotry" admitting is a good first step. Next is to meet and hang out with some more typical gay couples and you'll feel less threatened. Life is a journey of learning.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:05 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jim sample

    And talk about what????????? It's makes me sick that this garbage is allowed on ANY military base. In the picture above the caption reads "my family know different" Like hell it is, MY GOD. I say ban all of them from all activities on ALL military bases and let's act and talk about normal things in life that REALLY matter. Good day.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      Jim...you sound frightened...

      January 10, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
    • JohnC

      yeah Norm, I had a similar problem with my first dog. I didn't introduce her to a large variety of different people and dogs and she got aggresive with strangers and anyone different than she was used to. We did better with our next pup.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:49 pm | Report abuse |
  3. hank

    I'm a former Marine, served 8 years, seem some crazy sh!t. I'm not against gays in the Military just not the Marines. What I hate about DADT discussion is the fact that no one brings up how this is going to affect your average Grunt. These guys already have to deal with some of the worst conditions known to man in a hostile environment and the men you serve with are your family. Even if I didn't like the guy, if I saw him getting his ass whooped in a local bar then those guys will have to face 2 Marines then. You cannot break up that unity and allowing women and gays to serve along side them is going to do that. Most of these kids that enlist do not come from Liberal, open minded households and this is who the DADT policy is going to affect the most, this is going to affect tens of thousand of young men so that a handful of women and gays can serve. I'm not saying it can never happen but DADT is asking too much too soon from guys who are too young to process it. People have to remember that the Marines is a incredibly macho, male dominated, violent lifestyle and asking them to tone all that down to accommodate a few is not going to serve our country well.

    On a side note, She's overweight by Marine standards which tells me she is used to getting waivers, playing the medical game and getting over on the system. Marines aren't supposed to "get over" on the system. They are supposed to be ready to throw 100lbs on their backs and hump 15 miles. I've seen this too many times recently and it's a shame and I feel bad for my beloved Corps.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • wootdude

      Cripes dude, read the background on the story. She's pregnant and she's not in the Marines. She's in the Army. I guess they don't teach reader comprehension to jarheads.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:38 pm | Report abuse |
    • Steve

      1. She is PREGNANT!!!
      2. She's in the Army, different standards.
      3. The queried the Marines about the repealing of DADT and 85% (approx) of them said they did NOT care.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • hank

      My apologies! Very stupid of me.

      But with that query... Marines do care, we just are drilled into saying what we are told to say. Saying "I don't care" is about a big of a protest as you will get out of us.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:43 pm | Report abuse |
  4. burbanktj

    Having to read any statement in all capitals will strike thou abdomen too. It's even worse when all the capitals form words that make up utter nonsense sentences.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:35 pm | Report abuse |
  5. michael russell

    Your brother watched?

    January 10, 2013 at 12:36 pm | Report abuse |
  6. obama voter

    What ARE those things in that photo? Leftover Christmas hams?

    January 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  7. MB

    What I dont get is??? Why would you be part of a club. that your not even wanted in???? I mean now. All she is going to put up with is bad vibes around her. This is what I dont get about the GAY community. If you know. you are not liked. why put up with it. The Fix is. Start your own club. goodness. Its all about. Im going to tell my Daddy Obama that you dont like me. and wham. here comes Daddy. trying to force everyone to exept certain views. that some people dont agree on. This country is not about freedom anymore. Its all about Force. and its going to get worse.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Patrick

    So left handed people are abnormal. Thanks!!!

    January 10, 2013 at 12:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. samikep

    Why doesn't the Military even have separated showers? If I have to shower with an openly gay male why can't I also shower with a straight female?

    January 10, 2013 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      They will in the future.
      Watch Starship Troopers...

      January 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • blah11

      Because you are not very intelligent

      January 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • We Are Everywhere

      If you have EVER showered with a group of guys in a locker room situation, then you have already showered alongside a gay person. That is a statistical guarantee.

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

    Wow...I bet the other club members are going to welcome them with open arms now that they'e being forced to allow them in.
    Why do people always want to be where they're not wanted?

    January 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Just Passing By

      Since when should it be up to bigots to set the rules?

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

      Did you say the same thing when blacks were integrated into the military?
      How about integrating schools? Were you against that too?
      Your arguments against gays in the military are the same arguments that racists used in the 60s. They were wrong then, and you're wrong now.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • blah11

      No one wants you around so where do you go?

      January 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Funny

      Then they should no operate their club on government land ..

      Used to be blacks or women not allowed .. now they have to .. now the next gen of minority is rising .. and you all complain in a free country ..

      Get a clue .. move on..

      January 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • Carl Taper

      I know right? Like when all those black people in the 50's and 60's wanted to be allowed in restaurants and schools.

      What is the world coming to? What's next? Cats and dogs living in harmony? Cleanse yourselves brothers and sisters!!!!


      January 10, 2013 at 1:20 pm | Report abuse |
  11. John L

    I'm at a loss for words....... What is happening to my beloved Corps? I embraced change....I swear I do. At one time I wasn't allowed into the Marines because if the color if my skin.... This is going to take some getting use to.

    January 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane F

      The problem here is that you embraced change! Here's your change.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:44 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Jane F

    Why not start an all gay military? It could compete on the basis of popularity and effectiveness with the standing military. You could have gay clubs, cotillions, wiccan dances, anything we want. Special uniforms and awards could be given and nobody who was ever excluded, ever, could find a place of love. Special ad and recruiting could occur and "alternative" marriages could take place under a JAG type system.

    I must admit you would have the best decorated buildings, landscaped gardens, and groovy disco beats. Seriously.

    Why is Obama not entertaining this idea?

    January 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Norm

      Because no one is going to pay for TWO militaries.
      We spend way too much on the one we have.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane F

      Whats wrong or inane in this idea?

      We have divisions in the military; Army, Air Force, Marines, hell even a Coast Guard. Whats wrong with Gay Corp, Peace Brigade what ever we want to call it.

      A bigot brigade would be fine. They could do all those politically incorrect missions.

      As to the money We can find it in the budget for an idea that would promote acceptance and equality, or hell we can always print more.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tetsuo

      Your ignorance of certain issues in American history such as the justification of segregation by the concept of "separate but equal" is astounding.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane F

      It's not mandatory that a gay be assigned to Gay Corp but choice. It's not a legislated obligation, So "Separate but Equal" does not apply here. Back to your text books, sonny!

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

      Why should we pay for accommodations to make you feel comfortable with your bigotry? Sounds like you feel you deserve special treatment to me.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jane F

      Tetsuo, you are hardly the Iron Man you claim to be.

      This is an opportunity to initiate social change and challenge the conventions of American society. Why not embrace the idea and support it?

      I don't understand the rejection of the idea. It is not Separate bu Equal, and it is you that needs to understand Jim Crow and the legislation associated with segregation.

      January 10, 2013 at 1:01 pm | Report abuse |
  13. disfunctionalfamilies

    Here is a better one for you

    Why does the Navy allow Marines on their ships?
    Answer: Sheep are to obvious


    January 10, 2013 at 12:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rogerr

      Why do Marines ride on navy ships...because they are so used to riding navy wives;)

      January 10, 2013 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Steven

    Along the same line, when I was in 29 Palms in 1988, after my coworker's husband resigned his commission then he tried to go to the Officer's Wives Club (not Spouses Club in those days) he was thrown out because he wasn't a woman despite his wife being a Naval Officer on base and he had a dependent spouse card. He was trying to make a point (BTW he had been at UCLA ROTC back during the VN riots) and was more right wing than most of the current Republicans– but he still believed in equality for all, which is more than many red staters can say.

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

      I think that's an old Jimmy Stewart movie from WW II.
      Army woman's husband can't stay in the spouses quarters.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Brian M

    Not to be mean, but does the Army not have height and weight standards anymore? The lady in question on the right, is obviously on the heavier side. As a former Marine, I am shocked to see how heavy some of our servicepeople are these days.

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

      LOL...look at all the big fat out of shape cops we pay to do a job they can't physically do.

      January 10, 2013 at 12:48 pm | Report abuse |
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