Ashley Broadway married servicewoman Lt. Col. Heather Mack in November. The couple have been together for 15 years, in which they fought a long battle against gays' discrimination in the forces.Broadway, who joined her wife at Fort Bragg, feels very much offended after being rejected from a club for officers’ spouses. She attributes the board's decision to her being openly gay.
“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,” she tells NBC.
The Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses, citing that the group’s President, Mary Ring, rejected her application, blames it all on a lack of a military spouse ID.
As Broadway asked to read the club's bylaws, the group failed to send her the documentation. She went on to research the information with Fort Bragg's Morale, Welfare and Recreation office, finding out no such ID card is mentioned.
Babette Maxwell, who funded the Military Spouse Magazine and the annual Military Spouse of the Year Awards, explains their prevision was added after she applied.
The organization's regulations specify that they allow “spouses of all commissioned and warrant officers.” However, the club is a non-profit, and is not funded by the Department of Defense, therefore can set its own rules.
“They are part of and affiliated, by definition, with Fort Bragg. They need to understand the Army and the military’s directive on this by the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.’ They need to step in line with that.
“If it comes down to the president (Mary Ring) of the spouses club imposing her personal beliefs on an organization, I would ask her to step aside and she may found her own nonprofit. But the Fort Bragg Officers’ Spouses club belongs to Fort Bragg,” Broadway argues.
The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) have issued a statement, noting they are “disappointed to see such exclusion.” Fort Bragg Col. Jeffrey Sanborn, the Garrison commander has agreed to meet with Broadway to discuss “the discrimination she is facing.”
“The Fort Bragg Officers’ Spouse Club would not need to review the membership requirements if they had not changed the membership qualifications after Ms. Broadway requested to join their association,” the AMPA adds.