The “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy is slowly, but surely becoming a thing of the past, as President Obama made a historic move to further elevate our army past its discriminate nature. If appointed, Obama’s nomination of Eric Fanning, will be the first openly gay person to hold the position of Secretary of the Army and despite being a symbol of progression, Fanning is undoubtedly qualified for the position.
The 47-year-old former CBS journalist has a lengthy list of qualifications including serving as Air Force under secretary, deputy under secretary of the Navy, and deputy chief management officer of the Navy. With John McHugh preparing to retire, Fanning has also been the acting under secretary of the army as the secretary.
Despite some progressive movement including allowing gay members to serve, the acceptance of gays in the army is still a pressing issue as many continue to be harassed for their sexual orientation. With Fanning in office, he will be able to exert a great amount of influence over the current policies in place, including women obtaining roles in combat, which has been in headlines in recent months.
Head of OutServe-SLDN Matt Thorn praised Obama’s nomination agreeing that Fanning would be an outstanding fit for the role: “Having an openly gay individual in high level positions within Department of Defense helps to set the tone at the top and provides an opportunity to bring better understanding about both the shared and the unique needs of [the LGBT community] individuals in the military and their families.”
Gay rights activists joined in the celebration calling the appointment of Fanning, the perfect choice.
President of the American Military Partner Association Ashley Broadway-Mack said, “History continues to be written and equality marches forward with the nomination of an openly gay man to serve in this significantly important role.”
Today’s day in age it seems beyond absurd that a person’s sexual orientation should define whether or not they can serve in the United States Army as if being gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender hinders their physical, mental, and emotional abilities to serve and protect our nation. Hopefully, with Fanning’s appointment more and more will begin to understand that a person’s sexual orientation does not define what they can and cannot do. If a person is willing to put their life on the line to serve us, why should we fret about their sexual preferences as opposed to being grateful?