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BREAKING: No Results from Fort Bragg Meeting Amid Discrimination Controversy

For immediate release:
Thursday, December 20, 2012

Contact: Zeke Stokes at
202-621-5406 or zeke@outserve-sldn.org

Fort Bragg Meeting Brings No Resolution for Military Family Facing Discrimination by Spouses Group

(Fort Bragg, NC) A meeting lasting more than an hour today brought no resolution to nearly two weeks of controversy surrounding the denial of Ashley Broadway, the wife of an Army Lieutenant Colonel, for membership in the Association of Bragg Officer’s Spouses. Ashley and her wife, Lieutenant Colonel Heather Mack, met with Ft. Bragg Garrison Commander Colonel Jeffrey Sanborn, who agreed, at LTC Mack’s suggestion, to schedule a meeting of the spouses’ group with Broadway to discuss the situation.

“Today’s meeting was yet another delay tactic by the command at Fort Bragg and produced nothing more for Ashley and her family than additional delay. Our families don’t need more meetings; they need leadership.  We need Lieutenant General Daniel Allyn, the commanding general at Fort Bragg, to use his command influence to bring this discrimination to an end immediately and ensure that Ashley and other same-sex spouses are treated equally in his community,” said Allyson Robinson, Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director.

Robinson renewed her call for the Pentagon to end its two years of silence on issues affecting LGBT military families, including benefits that may be extended to them immediately by the Department of Defense without conflicting with the so-called Defense of Marriage Act. OutServe-SLDN has enumerated these benefits to the Secretary to Defense through a series of communications since January 2011. 

“This situation at Fort Bragg is the logical outcome of an abdication of leadership responsibility by the most senior officials at the Pentagon, and it must end now - not only for Ashley Broadway and her family, but for all gay and lesbian military families who put their lives on the line for our nation every single day,” said Robinson.

Robinson first brought the incident to the attention of Fort Bragg leadership on December 11 following a letter publicly released by The American Military Partner Association, which Broadway sent to the spouses’ organization detailing her rejection.

“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. This organization operates on Ft. Bragg with the endorsement of the Commanding General, and it is up to him to make clear that there is no room for discrimination against LGBT military families in his community. It’s time for commanders at all levels to demonstrate a real commitment to equal treatment for all military families,” 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.

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