Fort Bragg meeting brings no resolution in discrimination by spouses group

Ashley Broadway (left) and her spouse, Lt. Col. Heather Mack.
Family photo Staff Reports

FORT BRAGG, N.C. — A meeting lasting more than an hour on Thursday brought no resolution to nearly two weeks of controversy surrounding the denial of Ashley Broadway, the wife of an Army Lieutenant Colonel, for membership in the Association of Bragg Officer’s Spouses.

Broadway and her wife, Lt. Col. Heather Mack, met with Ft. Bragg Garrison Commander Colonel Jeffrey Sanborn, who agreed, at Mack’s suggestion, to schedule a meeting of the spouses’ group with Broadway to discuss the situation.

Ashley Broadway (left) and her spouse, Lt. Col. Heather Mack.
Family photo

“Today’s meeting was yet another delay tactic by the command at Fort Bragg and produced nothing more for Ashley and her family than additional delay,” said Allyson Robinson, Army Veteran and OutServe-SLDN Executive Director, in a statement Thursday.

Broadway said that her application for membership in the spouses’ club was rejected by the group’s president, Mary Ring, because Broadway does not have a military spouse identification card. But that rule was allegedly added only after Broadway asked to join the club several weeks ago.

“Our families don’t need more meetings; they need leadership. We need Lieutenant General Daniel Allyn, the commanding general at Fort Bragg, to use his command influence to bring this discrimination to an end immediately and ensure that Ashley and other same-sex spouses are treated equally in his community,” said Robinson.

Robinson renewed her call for the Pentagon to end its two years of silence on issues affecting LGBT military families, including benefits that may be extended to them immediately by the Department of Defense without conflicting with the so-called Defense of Marriage Act.

“The facts here are simple: there is no legal need or justification for any spouse to be excluded from a group like this, which exists to provide support to the spouses and families of our military men and women and the communities they serve,” said Robinsion. “This organization operates on Ft. Bragg with the endorsement of the Commanding General, and it is up to him to make clear that there is no room for discrimination against LGBT military families in his community.”

The Association of Bragg Officer’s Spouses is a private, non-profit organization and not governed by laws that apply to the federal government — such as the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).

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