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Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:31 PM

Pentagon opts not to intervene in ban of lesbian by Fort Bragg spouses club

The Pentagon is endorsing a move by leaders at Fort Bragg to stay out of a decision made by its on-base spouses club to refuse membership to the lesbian spouse of a female Army lieutenant, a Department of Defense spokesman said Wednesday.

The legal basis for the Pentagon’s stance is a department-wide “instruction” drafted in 2008, three years before the repeal of the military’s anti-gay “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy, said Nathan Christensen, a spokesman for the Pentagon. That directive ensures that “non-federal entities” operating on U.S. military installations don’t discriminate on the basis of “race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, or national origin.” There is no mention of discrimination based on sexual orientation.

NBC News reported Dec. 14 that Ashley Broadway, the newlywed wife of Lt. Col. Heather Mack, was blocked from joining the spouses club at Fort Bragg, N.C., sparking accusations from a national military spouses organization that Broadway was being blackballed only because she is a lesbian.

The Army’s handling of that matter runs counter to a directive issued Jan. 9 by Marine Corps leaders who ordered that same-sex spouses be allowed to participate in spouses clubs at all Marine bases.

“The Officer Spouses' Club at Ft. Bragg is in compliance with the DOD instruction,” Christensen said. “When you look at the instruction there are a few things it has to meet. As long as they meet those criteria, they’re allowed to meet on the base.”


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Reply Pentagon opts not to intervene in ban of lesbian by Fort Bragg spouses club (Original post)
joeybee12 Jan 2013 OP
Sherman A1 Jan 2013 #1
MADem Jan 2013 #2
Science Geek Jan 2013 #6
MADem Jan 2013 #7
xchrom Jan 2013 #3
Fearless Jan 2013 #4
Glaug-Eldare Jan 2013 #5
MADem Jan 2013 #8

Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 04:46 PM

2. A Marine Corps Directive has absolutely NOTHING to do with the Army--they are different branches and

one is not the "boss" of the other. The only guidance controlling all branches comes from DoD. The paragraph that talks about the handling running counter is just garbage journalism, implying that there is a directive out there that the Army is somehow ignoring--that's just not the case.

That said, the spouses' club at Bragg is quite evidently run by a crew of bigoted shitheels. I'd encourage the membership to quit en masse, in protest, and fire up an alternative club that is welcoming to all. It would be an easy thing to do, just send a rep to see the commanding officer with a charter for their group, and they, too, can get a meeting space and command sponsorship for their efforts. Call it the Bragg Families' Club--welcome all military family members, and throw better parties--that'd fix their little red wagons.

Since the person they gave the hand to is up for a national award, too, you'd think they'd have a lick of sense:

Broadway, meanwhile, has been nominated for the Fort Bragg Military Spouse of the Year award, a precursor to the Army Military Spouse of the Year award and — perhaps, ultimately — the 2013 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year award, which represents all branches. She is one of about 10 Bragg spouses nominated for the award from that base. Online voting for the base-level award takes place Jan. 22.

Spouse of the year, denied entrance to the club? Shades of Marian Anderson!!!!

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Response to MADem (Reply #2)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 10:05 PM

6. Marines are actually a department of the Navy...

...and not a separate branch of the service.

The Branches of Service are: Army, Navy, Air-force, National Guard.

In fact, the Air-force used to be a department of the Army, but was afforded its own separate branch status.

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Response to Science Geek (Reply #6)

Thu Jan 17, 2013, 11:16 PM

7. Well, yeah--I worked for DoN for decades. My point, though, was that a USMC directive is not

controlling over Army.

A USMC directive can be distinct from a USN directive--these services are both part of the DoN and operate under the civilian leadership of the SECNAV, but each has a senior military leader; the USMC a Commandant, the USN a Chief of Naval Operations, commonly called the CNO. These senior military leaders can--and DO--issue distinct orders that don't "carry over" within DoN. A very plain example is the physical readiness guidelines; USMC has a far more rigorous program than USN.

USAF broke free from USA (where they used to be the Army Air Corps) a couple of years after WW2.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:09 PM

4. So...

Someone is worthy of dying for this country, but we can't offer them and their spouse equality to all other military couples? What a surprise. I for one am shocked.

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Response to joeybee12 (Original post)

Wed Jan 16, 2013, 06:52 PM

5. Time for Panetta to make a new instruction.

Obama's gotta get on his ass about this. It's outlandish.

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Response to Glaug-Eldare (Reply #5)

Fri Jan 18, 2013, 03:42 AM

8. The Supremes have to jettison DOMA once and for all.

All the gains that have been made could, conceivably, be rolled back by a shitty right wing Congress or a shitty rightwing GOP Bush-like President. I would have preferred that Congress just shitcan the thing, and pass laws that guarantee equality for all, but that's not going to happen anytime soon--not with this House.

Section 3 of DOMA has been found unconstitutional in eight federal courts, including the First and Second Circuit Court of Appeals, on issues including bankruptcy, public employee benefits, estate taxes, and immigration. The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal in one of those cases, United States v. Windsor, and scheduled oral arguments for March 27, 2013.
On October 27, 2011, the Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN) brought suit in federal court on behalf of several military servicemembers and veterans in same-sex marriages. In a November 21 filing in the case of McLaughlin v. Panetta, they wrote, "Any claim that DOMA, as applied to military spousal benefits, survives rational basis review is strained because paying unequal benefits to service members runs directly counter to the military values of uniformity, fairness and unit cohesion." The benefits at issue include medical and dental benefits, basic housing and transportation allowances, family separation benefits, visitation rights in military hospitals, and survivor benefit plans. The case was assigned to Judge Richard G. Stearns. One of the plaintiffs in the case, lesbian Charlie Morgan, who was undergoing chemotherapy, met with an assistant to Boehner on February 9, 2012, to ask him to consider not defending DOMA. The case is on hold at the request of both sides in anticipation of the outcome of two other First Circuit cases on appeal, Gill v. Office of Personnel Management and Massachusetts v. United States Department of Health and Human Services. On February 17, the DOJ announced it could not defend the constitutionality of the statutes challenged in the case and passed the defense to BLAG. In May 2012, the parties filed briefs arguing whether BLAG has a right to intervene.

Tracey Cooper-Harris, an Army veteran from California, sued the Veterans Administration and the DOJ in federal court on February 1, 2012, asking for her wife to receive the benefits normally granted to spouses of disabled veterans. BLAG sought a delay in Cooper-Harris v. United States pending the resolution of Golinski, which the attorneys for Cooper-Harris, the Southern Poverty Law Center, opposed. The court denied BLAG's motion on August 4.


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