Army spouse club in same-sex dispute

Jan. 18, 2013 at 8:23 PM
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FORT BRAGG, N.C., Jan. 18 (UPI) -- A woman who is married to a female Army officer says an offer for a so-called guest membership in an officers' spouse club at Fort Bragg, N.C., is offensive.

The spouse club had previously rejected a membership application by Ashley Broadway, who is married to Lt. Col. Heather Mack. Broadway said the private club told her in December she was ineligible for membership because she lacked a military ID -- a credential the military does not issue to same-sex spouses.

Military service is no longer prohibited for 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 club said in a statement Broadway's application "would need to be studied" but the statement said the club does not "explicitly" require military ID for membership, the Los Angeles Times reported Friday.

The group Thursday 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," Broadway said.

Stephen L. Peters II -- president of the American Military Partner Association, which advocates for lesbian and gay military families -- said the club amended its membership rules retroactively last month, the Times reported.

Officials at Fort Bragg have said the club is not violating any laws, but an Army spokesman said last week the Army intends to join the Marine Corps in ordering clubs on its bases to admit same-sex spouses, the Times reported.

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