A same-sex army wife was denied membership in a base club for officers' spouses at Fort Bragg and the club's decision is being protested by many. Ashley Broadway is married to Lt. Col. Heather Mack, and they have a 2-year-old son and a second child on the way. The couple recently relocated to Fort Bragg and in an attempt to try to make new friends, Broadway decided to apply for a membership at the Association of Bragg Officers' Spouses. However, she was denied entry and she thinks its because of her same-sex marriage, NBC reported on Jan. 18. She said,
“I was really hurt by the denial. Living for years under ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ I couldn’t be a part of the military family,” Broadway said, breaking into tears. “After ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell,’ I thought, wow, I can finally be part of something, finally give back to the military community in ways other than just writing a check. So it was a blow. A real blow. Here, I thought things were progressing. I was knocked back down.”
Supposedly, Broadway's application was rejected because she doesn't have a military spouse identification card. However, that rule was only initiated after Broadway tried to join, says founder and executive director of the Military Spouse Magazine, Babette Maxwell. Here's what the heartbroken same-sex army wife had to say,
"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.'"
When Broadway asked for a copy of the club's bylaws, the club never sent them to her. She had to get them from Fort Bragg's Morale, Welfare and Recreation office. Upon reading the bylaws, Broadway didn't see anything that said members must have a military spouse identification card.
Although gay people and those who are married to the same-sex are now openly allowed to serve, the military still doesn't formally recognize same-sex marriage under the federal Defense of Marriage Act. The law denies military IDs to same-sex spouses as well as other benefits.
After much protest from Broadway, gay rights advocates and other same-sex army wives, the club says they might be considering new membership rules that do not require a military ID in order to join.