Military wives and husbands are often afforded club memberships on armed forces bases as a way to chat about military life, deal with tragedy and discuss their everyday lives while their significant other is heeding the call of duty. At Fort Bragg, Ashley Broadway, the wife of Lt. Col. Heather Mack of the Army was offered a “special guest membership” to one such club. The only difference is, “special membership” was offered due to Broadway being in a same-sex marriage.
It was this offensive notion that resulted in the Marine Corps., along with various other gay and lesbian organizations to take up a heightened stance in the wake of the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” back in 2011. The “special guest membership” would allow Broadway to attend meetings of the group, but would prevent her from voting in group elections or otherwise having a say. Broadway rejected the offer, citing that such an offer was “extremely demeaning.”
“I correlate ‘guest membership’ to saying, ‘Heather, you can be gay and be in the military but we’re not going to treat your spouse as equal.’ I can be in this club but I can’t have full membership? That’s not acceptable,” Broadway said.
As a result of Broadway’s controversy, the Marine Corps. On Dec. 9 redefined its laws regarding same-sex couples. While the Army took an entire month to respond to Broadway’s allegations, they are still denying same-sex membership into the clubs. While the Army is certainly looking to redefine its membership guidelines to be more in line with the Marine guidelines, Broadway has been nominated for Armed Forces Insurance Military Spouse of the Year award, with online voting to commence Jan. 22.