(Washington DC) Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson said late Tuesday that she would reach out to fellow West Point graduate and Fort Bragg Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Daniel B. Allyn, as speculation mounts that a same-sex military spouse is being discriminated against by the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses. The denial of membership to Ashley Broadway, the legally married same-sex spouse of an active duty Army Lieutenant Colonel, was first made public on Monday in an open letter Broadway wrote to the Association's leadership. Since then, the Association reportedly changed its web site to reflect a requirement not previously included in its bylaws in an apparent attempt to justify its exclusion of Broadway.
"The facts here are simple: there is no legal need or justification for any spouse to be excluded from a group like this, which exists to provide support to the spouses and families of our military men and women and the communities they serve. Though the organization operates on Ft. Bragg with permission from the Commanding General, the group is not formally affiliated with the military and is not required to bar membership to Ashley. In the absence of a reply from the Association, we are left with no option but to reach out to the base's leadership. General Allyn needs to know if there is discrimination happening against the military families in his community," said Robinson.
As a private, non-profit organization not governed by laws that apply to the federal government, there is no legal basis - such as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) - that would require same-sex military spouses to be excluded from the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses. Robinson said there are many such organizations on bases across the U.S. and around the world where same-sex families have been included and welcomed since the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" in September 2011.
"General Allyn and I both learned in our first weeks at West Point that impartiality is a hallmark of effective leaders. As new cadets, we were both required to commit to memory a quote from General William Jennings Worth, who led American troops in the War of 1812. Worth states that for a commander, 'to be partial is to dishonor both himself and the object of his ill-advised favor.' With programs such as these, which are not bound by a federal definition of marriage, commanders like General Allyn should use their influence to ensure all service members' families are treated equally," said Robinson.
ABOUT OUTSERVE-SLDN: OutServe-SLDN is the association of actively serving LGBT military personnel with more than fifty chapters and 6000 members around the world It works to support a professional network of LGBT military personnel and create an environment of respect in the military with regard to sexual orientation and gender identity. It is a non-partisan, non-profit, legal services and policy organization dedicated to bringing about full LGBT equality to America's military and ending all forms of discrimination and harassment of military personnel on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. OS-SLDN provides free and direct legal assistance to service members and veterans affected by the repealed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law and the prior regulatory ban on open service, as well as those currently serving who may experience harassment or discrimination. For more information, visit www.outserve-sldn.org .