Eric Fanning, Nominee for Secretary of the Army, to Keynote the 3rd Annual AMPA National Gala

Eric Fanning, Nominee for Secretary of the Army, to Keynote the 3rd Annual AMPA National Gala

The first openly gay man nominated to lead the U.S. Army will speak at the nation’s biggest LGBT military event of the year The American Military Partner Association (AMPA) is pleased to announce that Eric Fanning, President Obama’s nominee for Secretary of the Army, will keynote the 3rd Annual AMPA National Gala, presented by USAA – the nation’s biggest LGBT military event of the year. “We are absolutely thrilled to have Eric Fanning keynote our 3rd Annual AMPA National Gala,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “As an openly gay man who continues to break down barriers within our Armed Forces, Mr. Fanning truly leads by example and inspires our military families. We are looking forward to an incredible evening with him as we celebrate and honor our modern military families for their service and sacrifice to our great nation.” Fanning was nominated to serve as Secretary of the Army by President Obama in September of last year. He was later named Acting Secretary of the Army upon the retirement of Secretary McHugh, but stepped down from that role as he awaits confirmation by the U.S. Senate. The Military Times reported, “Formerly one of Carter’s closest advisers, Fanning is widely viewed as one of the most capable leaders in the Pentagon. He has served as the undersecretary and later the acting secretary of the Air Force. Before that, he was deputy undersecretary of the Navy and its deputy chief management officer. In addition to his long résumé, Fanning would mark a milestone if he does become the Army secretary, as the first openly gay secretary of a military service.” As previously announced, Edie Windsor, the lead plaintiff in United States...
Defense Department Adds South Korea To List of Duty Stations Approved for Same-Sex Military Spouses

Defense Department Adds South Korea To List of Duty Stations Approved for Same-Sex Military Spouses

Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military spouses and their families, praised the news that the Republic of Korea (South Korea) has been added to the list of duty station assignments outside of the United States approved for same-sex military spouses. Until the recent addition of Germany , and now South Korea, many same-sex spouses of U.S. service members were often denied “command sponsorship” to some duty stations oversees due to concerns that they were not covered under the Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with the host nation. While opposite-sex spouses were able to accompany their service member to these new duty stations, same-sex spouses and their children were often left behind. “A huge burden has been lifted off of the shoulders of so many of our military families,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “With thousands of service members stationed in South Korea, this was a serious concern that our families still faced after the successful repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and the eventual recognition of same-sex spouses by the Department of Defense. This is incredibly welcome news for so many service members and their families who now don’t have to go through extraordinary lengths to stay together.” South Korea hosts an estimated 30,000 U.S. military personnel. Resolution of the concerns with South Korea was a high priority for AMPA and LGBT military families. LGBT service members with a same-sex spouse were often faced with a very difficult situation of choosing between their family and a duty station that would benefit their military career. Approved countries now include:...
Diversity in the Military Community

Diversity in the Military Community

On a dark, winter morning, I still remember the cold air that swept over me as I waited in a line to enter the Military Entrance Processing Station (MEPS) in Amarillo, Texas. The day was full of physical screenings and a plethora of tests to determine my physical fitness and aptitude to match me with my future military job. The day symbolized something much bigger; it was the day I was sworn in to the United States Air Force, making the commitment to support and defend all people in the United States. However, the fond memory quickly diminished when I was handed an anti-homosexual agreement that I was required to sign confirming my heterosexuality. If I committed any acts or engage in homosexuality, I agreed that I would be dismissed from military service and charged under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. I am not sure if the processing agent saw the petrified look on my face or my shaky hands, but I signed the agreement and internally negotiated that I would forego a life of authenticity by living under the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) ban. During my first year of service, I became a victim of an unfortunate incident and pursued military charges against my assailant. Despite my excellent military standing, during the investigation of the incident, it was uncovered that I was a lesbian. During what was supposed to be the trial of my assailant, I was questioned on my sexual orientation and was forced to consult an attorney out of fear of being discharged from the military simply because I had feelings for someone of...
LGBT Families Under Attack in North Carolina and Mississippi

LGBT Families Under Attack in North Carolina and Mississippi

With little to no choice where they are stationed, LGBT service members and their families now face even greater discrimination sanctioned by state law in North Carolina and Mississippi Today, the American Military Partner Association, the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military spouses and their families, expressed serious concern over the legislative assaults on LGBT people in North Carolina and Mississippi. The governors of both states have shamefully signed legislation into law attacking LGBT people and their families. “These appalling and extreme laws in North Carolina and Mississippi have swung the door wide open for even greater discrimination and harassment against LGBT people and their families,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “Considering many of our families have little to no choice where they are stationed, we are incredibly concerned for our LGBT military families — especially for those currently stationed in these two states. Our families already have enough to worry about as they sacrifice a tremendous amount serving our country, and the last thing they should have to worry about is facing discrimination here at home. These shameful attacks by anti-equality extremists at the state level are exactly why we need full non-discrimination protections at the federal level.” According to the Human Rights Campaign, Mississippi‘s new anti-LGBT law outrageously allows “individuals, religious organizations and private associations to use religion to discriminate against LGBT Mississippians in some of the most important aspects of their lives, including at work, at schools, and in their communities.”  The radical new law in North Carolina eliminates “existing municipal non-discrimination protections for LGBT people and prevents such protections from being passed by cities in the future. The...
The Donna Johnson Equality and Valor Award

The Donna Johnson Equality and Valor Award

The Donna Johnson Equality and Valor Award stands to honor the life, legacy, and bravery of Staff Sergeant Donna Johnson, who was slain in action overseas. What followed back at home also became a task of burden and woe. Tracy Johnson — Donna’s wife — was challenged to undergo the painful task of seeking to be recognized as Donna’s widow. Thanks in part to Donna’s legacy, Tracy’s courage, and the advocacy work of AMPA, the Department of Defense and Department of Veterans Affairs eventually changed their policies to recognize Tracy and the same-sex spouses of service members and veterans. These efforts also contributed to the overall fight that eventually overturned unconstitutional and discriminatory laws on marriage. The award stands to remember a pivotal event in American, LGBT, and AMPA history. Each year, the AMPA board of directors honors a servicemember for his or her service and sacrifice to our nation with the award. Servicemembers can be nominated from any branch of service — Coast Guard included — and may be any gender, sexual orientation, or queer identity. The award will be presented to a servicemember whom the panel believes exemplifies courage, equality, and valor. The nomination process is simple. This year, anyone can nominate a servicemember for the award by April 1, 2016. Once a nominee has been selected by a panel, Tracy Johnson will be consulted, and the AMPA board of directors will vote. The award will then be presented at the 3rd Annual AMPA National Gala in Washington, DC, on May 7,...
Senate Panel Confirms Eric Fanning As Secretary of the Army

Senate Panel Confirms Eric Fanning As Secretary of the Army

The nomination of the first openly gay man to lead the U.S. Army now heads to the full Senate for a final vote  Today, the American Military Partner Association (AMPA), the nation’s largest organization of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) military spouses and their families, praised the news that the Senate Armed Services Committee has confirmed the nomination of the first openly gay man to serve as secretary of one of the U.S. military services — Eric Fanning. President Obama’s historic nomination of Fanning to serve as Secretary of the Army now heads to the full Senate for a final vote. “We are thrilled to see Eric Fanning confirmed by the Senate Armed Services Committee,” said AMPA President Ashley Broadway-Mack. “History continues to be written and equality marches forward with the nomination of an openly gay man to serve in this significantly important role. Fanning’s expertise and knowledge within the defense community more than qualifies him to serve as Secretary of the Army. We urge the Senate to move quickly to confirm his appointment.” Fanning has served at senior levels in the Navy, the Air Force, and the...