Lieutenant Colonel Heather Mack held a formal ceremony to make her 15-year companion, Ashley Broadway, her wife. The couple claims that Broadway was denied membership at a Fort Bragg club for officer’s spouses. A nationally military spouses organization claims Lt. Col. Mack’s same-sex partner was blackballed simply because she is a lesbian, according to NBC News.
The Fort Bragg couple have a 2-year-old son and Lt. Col. Mack is 8-months pregnant. The couple held a formal ceremony to officially solidify their relationship after the 2011 “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” repeal. Ashley Broadway had this to say about being rejected by the base club for military spouses:
“I was really hurt by the denial. Living for years under ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ I couldn’t be a part of the military family. After Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, I thought, wow, I can finally be part of something, finally give back to the military community in ways other than just writing a check. So it was a blow. A real blow. Here, I thought things were progressing. I was knocked back down.”
When Broadway was contacted by a representative from the Association of Fort Bragg Officer’s Spouses organization, she was reportedly told that her application was not approved because she does not have a military spouse identification card. Apparently Fort Bragg group president Mary Ring issued the rejection.
Military Spouse Magazine Executive Director Babette Maxwell maintains that the rule about being the holder of a military spouse identification card was only enacted after Lt. Col. Heather Mack’s same-sex spouse applied for membership. Maxwell and others are advocating Broadway to become a member of the Fort Bragg club.
The American Military Partner Association, a support group for partners or spouses of LGBT military members, issued a statement noting their disappointment to see Broadway’s exclusion from the Fort Bragg Officers’ Spouse Club.
The United States military does not recognize gay marriage under the Defense of Marriage Act. The American Armed Forces also not offer identification cards or other types of spouse benefits to same-sex couples. The Fort Bragg club for spouses in a non-profit organization not directly linked to the Department of Defense.