Same-sex wife is Fort Bragg spouse of year

Jan. 25, 2013 at 7:34 PM

FORT BRAGG, N.C., Jan. 25 (UPI) -- A woman who is married to a female Army officer has been named Fort Bragg, N.C., spouse of the year even though an officers' spouse club refused her membership.

Ashley Broadway, who is married to Lt. Col. Heather Mack of the 1st Theater Sustainment Command, was chosen to represent Fort Bragg in a competition next month to determine the Army spouse of the year -- with the winner representing the branch in the 2013 Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year competition, The Fayetteville (N.C.) Observer reported Friday.

The award is presented annually by Military Spouse magazine.

Broadway said the Fort Bragg club rejected her membership application, telling her in December she was ineligible because she lacked a military ID -- a credential the military does not issue to same-sex spouses.

The club has since said Broadway's application "would need to be studied" but the club does not "explicitly" require military ID for membership, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Military service is no longer prohibited for openly gay men and women, but the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act -- whose constitutionality will be considered this term by the U.S. Supreme Court -- forbids federal recognition of same-sex marriage.

The Fort Bragg club has offered Broadway a "special guest membership" while the organization reviews its bylaws, but Broadway said the offer was "not only offensive, but ridiculous."

"My wife wears the same uniform as the spouses of (the club) and she's just as prepared to give her life for our country," she said.

Broadway is a member of the American Military Partner Association -- a support network for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender military families.

AMPA President Stephen Peters praised her for "the amount of hard work, volunteer time and invaluable assistance that she has dedicated to helping all military families over the years, in addition to the unwavering support she has provided to her wife on active duty and their children."

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