Spouses club invites gay Army officer's wife

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FORT BRAGG, N.C. -- A woman married to a female Army officer at Fort Bragg and who was recently denied membership in its officers' spouses club said that she has been invited to become a full member.

Ashley Broadway said late Friday that she received the invitation from the club's board in an email.

The invitation came on the same day that Broadway also learned she'd been named Fort Bragg's 2013 "Military Spouse of the Year" by Military Spouse magazine. She is married to Lt. Col. Heather Mack, who gave birth this week to a baby girl, the couple's second child.

"I'm pleased, I'm happy," Broadway said Friday. "As soon as things calm down with the baby, I want to get involved. I hate that it took so long for them to come to this conclusion . . . I think if anything it's brought up a larger issue: We have two classes of service members and how they're . . . not treated equally."

Last month, Fort Bragg received national attention when Broadway was denied membership in the officers' spouses club at the Army post because she does not have a spouse identification badge issued by the military.

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Though she and Mack have been together for 15 years, the only pass that post officials would provide to Broadway named her as a caregiver to their 2-year-old son -- the same credential given to nannies.

The couple's case is an example of how nearly a year and half after President Barack Obama and Congress ended "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," same-sex couples are faced with daily reminders of the conflict inherent in serving openly as gays and lesbians.

Pentagon officials say they are bound by the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, which forbids the federal government from recognizing any marriage other than that between a man and a woman.


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