The US Marine Corps has directed all the “spouses clubs” that they must allow same-sex partners membership.
Thanks in large part to the controversy surrounding the denial of Ashley Broadway’s acceptance into the Association of Bragg Officers’ Spouses at Fort Bragg, the US Marine Corps has taken the initiative and directed their legal teams to alert their own spouses clubs that if they wish to continue operating on Marine installations they will allow same-sex partners membership. NBC News reports,
In an all-hands memo to legal offices across the branch, the Marine commandant’s Staff Judge Advocate warned against discrimination based on sexual orientation, and he specifically mentioned a controversial decision made last month by the officers spouses club at the Army’s Fort Bragg to deny access to the same-sex spouse of a female Army lieutenant.
Marine Corps spokesman Captain Eric Flanagan said,
We don’t control what (the spouses clubs) do. But they get support from the Marine Corps so that they can hold their meetings on base or at Department of Defense facilities. So, in order to do that, they do have to follow Marine Corp policies. We expect that all who are interested in supporting Marine Corps family readiness would be welcome to participate and will be treated with dignity and respect.
Broadway, who is married to Army lieutenant colonel Heather Mack told NBC News,
I commend the commandant and the Marine officials for being able to take a look and really think about what is going on, and basically realizing that, hey, we’ve got same-sex Marines that are married, and we need to support their families. This is a huge step in the right direction. I applaud them … As a loyal Army wife, I would have liked to have seen it from my own branch first. But hey, I’m very excited for my Marine brothers and sisters.
Although this recent development has not changed the fact that Broadway is still being barred from participating in the spouses club at Fort Bragg, the Marine Corps re-emphasizing their policy on discrimination will most assuredly influence the other branches of the armed forces to recognize and accept all military spouses and families, regardless of whether they are heterosexual, homosexual or anything in between.