Eric Fanning Becomes First Openly-Gay Secretary of the U.S. Army

Acting Secretary of the Air Force Eric Fanning and Air Force Chief of Staff General Mark Welsh III brief the press on the state of the Air Force at the Pentagon on Dec. 13, 2013. DoD photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo (Released)..

Eric Fanning – photo by Erin A. Kirk-Cuomo

Yesterday (17th) the US Senate confirmed Eric Fanning to serve as Secretary of the U.S. Army. Fanning is the first openly-gay leader of a U.S. military service, and is now the highest-ranking, Senate-confirmed openly-LGBT appointed official.

Fanning was nominated by President Barack Obama in September, and the nomination was reported by the Senate Armed Services Committee in March. Until yesterday, Fanning’s nomination had been blocked by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS) over his unrelated concern regarding potential transfer of Guantanamo detainees.

“Eric Fanning’s historic confirmation [..] as Secretary of the U.S. Army is a demonstration of the continued progress towards fairness and equality in our nation’s armed forces,” said Human Rights Campaign President, Chad Griffin. “Eric Fanning has spent his career serving this nation with tireless dedication, skill and ability, and as secretary he will bring that same commitment to the men and women of the U.S. Army.”

Fanning’s nomination comes just five years after the historic end of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) law that prohibited qualified LGB Americans from serving in the U.S. armed forces. His confirmation comes as the military is preparing to move forward to lift the ban on transgender service in the military.

 

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality.

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