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Senate Panel Approves First Openly Gay Civilian To Lead A Military Service

by Rob Smith March 11, 2016


President Obama just keeps earning his reputation as the most LGBT-friendly leader ever, as an openly gay nominee of his makes another step toward making history.

The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved Eric Fanning’s nomination as the next Secretary of the Army, which would make him the first openly gay civilian to lead a military service.

The approval comes six months after President Obama nominated Fanning, who previously served as the Acting Secretary of the Air Force. However, as The Washington Blade reports, full confirmation may be a bit trickier:

Although the committee has approved the nomination, Fanning faces difficulties in obtaining confirmation by the full Senate. Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) has placed a hold on the nomination, citing comments President Obama made about closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay. A Roberts spokesperson told the Blade on Thursday the hold remains in place.

LGBT military advocacy group OutServe-SLDN is placing their weight behind Fanning, having recently sent a letter and petition with nearly 700 signatures to Roberts. OutServe-SLDN Executive Director Matthew Thorn says Fanning’s credentials are impeccable:

“From his service as the deputy undersecretary and deputy chief management officer for the Department of the Navy, deputy director of the Commission on the Prevention of Weapons of Mass Destruction Proliferation & Terrorism to most recently serving as the under secretary of the Air Force, acting U.S. Secretary of the Air Force and chief of staff to the secretary of defense his preparedness for this role could not be higher.”

We’ll keep our eyes open for any developments, and we hope the full confirmation is right around the corner so the Senate can go ahead and make some history.

Rob Smith
Rob Smith


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