The Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses extended a ‘special guest membership’ Thursday night to the lesbian spouse of an Army lieutenant colonel, according to NBC.
The offer is the latest move in a storm over the group’s refusal to offer Ashley Broadway membership despite being married to Lt. Col. Heather Mack.
“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 in an interview with NBC News Thursday night. “I’m either going to be a member or not. I applied to be a full member with a vote.
“I am declining their offer.”
Shortly after Broadway applied, the club called her to say it had new membership rules. If she didn’t have a military ID card, she couldn’t join.
The couple is legally married – reciting their vows during a November ceremony in Washington, D.C., and signing a state marriage certificate.
Though gay people can now serve openly, the military doesn’t formally recognize same-sex marriage under the federal Defense of Marriage Act, a law passed in 1996 that denies many benefits to same-sex spouses. One of those benefits is military IDs.
The controversy prompted the Marine Corps to issue a directive last week ordering such clubs conducting business on its bases must admit same-sex spouses.
Broadway has been named one of several nominees to be Military Spouse of the Year 2013. Tens of thousands of military personnel will vote on the nominees.