Following the long awaited death of Don't Ask Don't Tell, the U.S. Marine Corps have now taken action to assure that gay and lesbian military spouses will be allowed in all on-base military spouse clubs. In a memo sent to Marine legal offices across the country, the Staff Judge Advocate to the Commandant ordered that all clubs operating on military bases must adhere to the Marines' discrimination policy and explicitly declare that "no person shall be discriminated against because of race, color, creed, sex, age, disability, or national origin, or otherwise subjected to unlawful discrimination." The memo states, "We would interpret a spouses club's decision to exclude a same-sex spouse as sexual discrimination because the exclusion was based upon the spouse's sex."
As for private, off-base spouse clubs, Marine Corps spokesman Capt. Eric Flanagan has commented, saying, "While the Marine Corps cannot directly control the actions of independent organizations such as spouses clubs, we expect that all who are interested in supporting Marine Corps Family Readiness would be welcome to participate and will be treated with dignity and respect."
Advocates for gay members serving in the military are pleased with the Marines' decision, but — reasonably — would like to see it go farther. Says president of the American Military Partner Association Stephen L. Peters II, "Now that the Marine Corps has set the right standard, we need the secretary of Defense to ensure there is consistency across all branches of service in regards to private organizations that operate on military bases."
As of now, several spouse clubs are refusing gay would-be members on the grounds that they don't have military ID., something that many facets of the military (like the Army) refuse to issue same-sex spouses all together. Progress is being made, but we still have a long way to go.