In December of last year, a Fort Bragg, N.C. spouse club denied membership to Ashley Broadway, spouse of Lt. Col. Heather Mack.
In their defense (and apparently, Fort Bragg leaders [“leaders” used loosely] agree), their refusal to accept her into their special club is legal (and “legal,” as we know, is synonymous with “morally sound”), because a department-wide directive drafted in 2008
ensures “non-federal entities” operating on U.S. military installations don’t discriminate on the basis of “race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, or national origin.” There is no mention of discrimination based on sexual orientation.
The wives are also just remaining loyal to the “Army Wife Creed,” an anonymously written, informal oath guiding Army wife behavior and character.
The creed follows, with parenthetical notes (mine) clarifying the commitment so as to eliminate any future confusion should we Army wives hope to succeed in upholding this creed for years to come:
I am the wife of an American Soldier. (This is somewhat vague and could seem to include wives of female soldiers, but that’s fixed in later verses. However, what can be gleaned from this first line is that the oath does not apply to husbands of female American soldiers.)
I am a supporter of (the men of) the United States Army –
an encouragement for the protectors of the greatest nation on earth. (Unless those protectors are gay or heterosexual women.)
Because I am proud of my husband (not wife) and the uniform that he (not she) wears,
I will always act in ways creditable to him, the military service (performed by men)
and (segments of) the nation he is sworn to guard.
I am proud of my husband. I will do all that I can to protect
and provide for my family in his absence. I will be loyal to my
husband and to the vows that we made as we entered the
covenant of marriage.
I will do my full part to carry on the values
and goals we have set apart for our family
and I will continue to instruct our children in the same manner.
As a (heterosexual) soldier’s wife, I realize that I play a vital role
in my husband’s decision to become a member of a time-honored profession –
that I am doing my share to keep alive the principles of freedom (and arbitrary discrimination)
for which my country stands.
No matter what situation I am in, I will never do anything,
for pleasure, profit, or personal safety,
which will disgrace my husband, his uniform or our country (unless compelled by bigotry to do so).
I will use every means I have to encourage my husband to be
the best soldier that he can be.
I am proud of my husband, (parts of) my country and its flag.
I will fly the flag and will always remember the sacrifices
made by my husband and by generations of men and women (wait, what? how’d that get in there?)
that have served our beloved country.
I will try to make my husband proud of the
manner in which I accept his decision to defend my freedom and
the freedom of all American citizens (which doesn’t mean we can’t exclude them or impose restrictions due to sexual preference, though)-
for I am the (heterosexual) wife of an American (male) soldier.
According to the NBC article linked above,
The Army’s handling of that matter [of Ashley Broadway] runs counter to a directive issued Jan. 9 by Marine Corps leaders who ordered that same-sex spouses be allowed to participate in spouses clubs at all Marine bases.
Oh, great! Even the Marines are beating us!
Fort Bragg Army wives, you are an embarrassment to the rest of us. Not because you’re making us lose to the Marines, but because you’re painfully inadequate representatives of what the military stands for (protection of the people). Additionally, you’re obstinately disregarding the decision of the military to openly welcome gay soldiers. You cannot wear the label “military spouse,” thereby associating yourself with the organization, in one breath, and in another, refuse to acknowledge the standards and guidelines of that organization.
If it’s good enough for the Army that serves as a foundation for your club, it is, by extension, good enough for your club. If you would like to have a club for heterosexual women only, please create a new one off-post that doesn’t pretend to uphold or reflect expressed military values.