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OutServe-SLDN Responds to Delay Tactic by Fort Bragg Spouses Group

For immediate release:
Thursday, December 13, 2012

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

Robinson: Equality Cannot Wait
OutServe-SLDN Responds to Delay Tactic by Fort Bragg Spouses Group

(WASHINGTON DC) Amid national controversy surrounding its denial of membership to a same-sex military spouse, the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses today released a statement indicating it would address the issue at a board meeting next month. In response, Army veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Allyson Robinson called on the group to address the controversy immediately.

“‘Equality can wait’ has never been the answer, but that’s the message the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses is sending with its tepid and dismissive statement today. It’s certainly not the answer for Ashley Broadway or the families of gay and lesbian service members at Ft. Bragg and on military installations across the country, who like all our men and women in uniform, need support during the holiday season perhaps more than any other time of the year. The group doesn’t need a meeting; Ashley clearly qualifies under its existing, approved bylaws. It simply needs to accept Ashley into its membership, and it should do so immediately,” Robinson said.

Ashley Broadway detailed her denial of membership in the club in an open letter to its president, Mary Ring, earlier this week. On Tuesday, OutServe-SLDN reached out to the Commanding General at Fort Bragg, LTG Daniel Allyn, to make him aware of discrimination against military families happening in his community and request that he address the situation. The command has yet to respond.

Robinson also called out the Pentagon for its nearly two-year long delay in issuing guidance on benefits and support that can be provided to same-sex military families without coming into conflict with the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

“The Pentagon has dragged its feet on this issue for far too long, and it’s time for the Secretary to act. Situations like the one at Ft. Bragg could be avoided if commanders were given the guidance they need to address these issues with consistency. All it takes is the stroke of a pen,” said Robinson.

OutServe-SLDN, previously known as Servicemembers Legal Defense Network, has sent repeated requests to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta outlining steps he can take now to extend recognition, benefits, and support to gay and lesbian military families.

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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.

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