An army wives club that gained national media attention last month for denying membership to a female Army officer's female partner now says the lesbian mother of two is welcome to join the club.
The Association of Bragg Officers Spouses (ABOS), at Fort Bragg, N.C., originally denied Ashley Broadway membership because she did not have a spouse identification badge issued by the military. The badge she had simply classified her as a caregiver to the 2 ½-year-old son she has with Lt. Col. Heather Mack. The club granted Broadway a “guest membership,” but she argued that anything less than full membership was unacceptable.
The email inviting Broadway to become an official member of the spouses club, arrived Friday night. In it, the association wrote: "in order to immediately support all military officer spouses who are eligible for ABOS membership a more inclusive definition of spouse is needed. Therefore, any spouse of an active duty commissioned or warrant officer with a valid marriage certificate from any state or district in the United States is eligible for ABOS membership."
Broadway, who calls herself a “very devout Christian,” says she’s pleased with the board’s decision to let her join the club: “I think if anything it's brought up a larger issue: We have two classes of service members and how they're … not treated equally."
As of now, the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which forbids the federal government from recognizing any marriage other than that between a man and a woman, still stands. But thanks in part to the national media attention same-sex couples draw, that too may soon change.
The U.S. Supreme Court is expected to rule on the constitutionality of DOMA in June. Late last year, the military ended its policy of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," allowing gay service members to serve openly. The U.S. Military Academy hosted its first same-sex "marriage" ceremonies in December.
Military Spouse magazine recently named Broadway Fort Bragg’s 2013 “Military Spouse of the Year.”