Ashley Broadway has been named Fort Bragg’s Military Spouse of the Year. Broadway was rebuffed by the base’s officer spouses’ organization late last year because she is married to a woman. The vote was held online.
OutServe-SLDN Executive Director and Army Veteran Allyson Robinson stated “Today’s announcement that Ashley Broadway will represent the military spouses at Ft Bragg and be among those eligible to be named national military spouse of the year only underscores how out of touch many of our military leaders are with the communities and the nation they serve. It is past time for the Pentagon to catch up and honor the service and sacrifice of all military families. If Ashley’s peers can bestow this honor on her, how can the Pentagon continue to pretend her family and others like them don’t even exist, and continue to delay taking actions currently in it’s authority to treat them the same as all other military families?”
OS-SLDN has been pressuring outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to take action on benefits and support for LGBT military families.
According to Babette Maxwell, the founder of Military Spouse magazine and the Military Spouse of the Year award, Broadway won the vote handily. Broadway is now eligible to benominated for the Army’s Spouse of the Year.
Broadway told NBC that “A lot of people who voted never me met or talked to me or knew me from Adam. I know it was a statement to the Obama Administration, to Secretary (of Defense Leon) Panetta, to Senator (Chuck) Hagel — if he is confirmed (as defense secretary) — to the Pentagon and, really, to America that, yes, she is a military spouse and she needs to be recognized. . .There are things the government can do right now to make life a hell of a lot easier than what it is currently for those who are in same-sex marriages in the military. It was a lot of people saying, ‘Enough’s enough.’ ”
Broadway married her long time girlfriend, Lieutenant Colonel Heather Mack this past November. The two have two children together- a two year old son and a three day old daughter.
Maxwell stated “People got one vote per email address — one ballot for the person you wanted to represent you. I think people would be unwilling to, quote-unquote, throw their vote away on simply doing what was popular. There was a significant amount of meaning in what they were doing when they voted for Ashley. . .Removing her a bit from the press and recognition she’s received the last few months, Ashley — more importantly — has a platform to benefit a large number of spouses, and that’s what people want to see happen. The winners are chosen based on their merits, their accomplishments and what they intend to do for the community in the year to come.”
Broadway also said “I never thought in a million years I would be the one to advance the cause. If that’s what it’s going to take to get attention for all the military same-sex spouses, then so be it. But I do take this (Bragg ‘spouse of the year’ award) very seriously. And we’ll see where it goes from here.”