Reportedly, a same-sex Army wife was denied membership last year into a club for military spouses at Fort Bragg in North Carolina. Although she is the spouse of an Army lieutenant colonel, Ashley Broadway claims she is being discriminated against because she is a lesbian. In a new development, on Thursday, the woman received a "special guest invitation."
According to a Jan. 18 report from NBCNews, officials at the Fort Bragg club, extended an invitation for the woman to join as a "special guest." This simply means that she can join the club, but is not entitled to vote on club matters.
"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,'" Broadway said, adding that she wants to be a member just like all the rest, without restrictions.
"I am declining their offer," the same-sex Army wife said.
The ex-teacher, who is openly-gay moved willingly to different bases during multiple deployments. Broadway is also was the main caregiver of their son.
Now that the same-sex Army wife and spouse are expecting another child soon, they settled down at Fort Bragg to grow their family.
Broadway thought it was a good idea to meet other same-sex couples and parents. Therefore, she applied for entry to the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses.
To her surprise, she was denied membership. The reason given: she did not have military spouse identification.
"I thought, 'Here's a chance to make some close friends who would really understand me.' And I could get very active in events that help other families like mine. I was excited, really excited, to be a part of this group," she said in a recent interview.
Broadway and her spouse were legally married November in Washington, D.C. They even have a certified state marriage certificate. However, even with the repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy in 2011, there still remains a cultural transition and adaptation.
While the military allows gay and lesbian couples to serve openly, it does not recognize marriages due to the Defense of Marriage Act or DOMA. Under this measure, spouses are not afforded any federal benefits. This also includes denying military IDs to applicants like the same-sex Army wife.
Broadway believes the act of denying her entry into the officer's club is discrimination that she is banned for being a lesbian.
With her voice breaking at times, Broadway recalls this story at Fort Bragg:
"The cards are also a big symbol. So there I am listening to this person with this club tell me I can't join as I'm struggling to get my 2-year-old out of the car and into the house. And I just kept hearing over and over, 'You don't have an ID. You don't have an ID.' I was hearing it as, 'You are not equal. You are less.'"
Officials at Fort Bragg say that there is nothing they can do because the club itself is privately-owned.
Still, the thought of the same-sex Army wife being banned is unsettling.
Note: The U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments about the DOMA in March.
Share your opinion below about this incident. Is it discrimination?