Dec 11, 2012 No Comments ›› Dinah Tellya
Excerpted from Buzzfeed: A group for military spouses in North Carolina is facing questions of exclusion and discrimination after telling a female servicemember’s lesbian wife that she wasn’t allowed to join the group.
Ashley Broadway published a letter Monday at the website of the American Military Partner Association stating that, despite being married to Army Lt. Col. Heather Mack, she was told by a representative of the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses that she did “not qualify” for membership.
The group’s official reason for barring Broadway from joining was her lack of a military ID card — something only available currently to opposite-sex military spouses. But a review of the group’s previously published bylaws, provided to BuzzFeed, contains no mention of an ID requirement. And it wasn’t until after Broadway published her letter that the group added any mention of an “active ID card” requirement to its website.
Broadway told BuzzFeed that the different treatment made no sense to her and said it especially stung given how long she had to keep her relationship a secret under the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy.
“I think when I heard those words — I feel like I’ve been discriminated against for the 15 years that I’ve been with Heather because I met her, and she was in the Army,” she said. “I had to lie for so long, almost live two different lives. I could never really tell people, I couldn’t get married.”
She hoped that her November wedding, coupled with the military’s policy change allowing out gay service, would put an end to the couple’s hardships.
“I’ve been discriminated against because of the military, because of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ but I just really had in my heart, had in my mind, that people were moving on from it,” she said, adding, “I was so proud to finally say, ‘We’re married.’”