Senate Armed Services Committee Advances Eric Fanning as First Gay Army Secretary
The Senate Armed Services Committee has approved the nomination of Eric Fanning to be Army secretary. Fanning is the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service.
President Obama nominated Fanning to the post last September
Eric served as the Army secretary’s principal adviser on management and operation of the service, with a focus on the budget. He was undersecretary of the Air Force from April 2013 to February 2015, and for half a year was the acting secretary of the Air Force
The Congressional LGBT Equality Caucus today applauded the vote, and called on the full Senate to quickly schedule a vote on the nomination.
“This is truly a groundbreaking achievement for the LGBT community and a monumental step forward for our military”. – Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.)
“I want to applaud my Senate colleagues for their recommendation to confirm Eric Fanning as the new Secretary of the Army,” said LGBT Equality Caucus Co-Chair Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.) “This is truly a groundbreaking achievement for the LGBT community and a monumental step forward for our military. Not only is Eric the most qualified, but he will ensure all our service members are treated equal regardless of who they are or who they love.”
Despite the Armed Services committee approval the road ahead is not entirely clear for Fanning. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., last year placed a hold on his nomination to protest the Obama administration’s efforts to close the Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, detention facility
“The Senator’s hold on Eric Fanning is not personal,” Roberts spokesperson Sarah Little said in a statement Thursday. “The Senator has asked the Administration to provide a guarantee that detainees will not wind up in Kansas, as he was able to do when this issue first arose in 2009. This request has been articulated to John McHugh, before he left office as Secretary of the Army, to those working closely on the ‘plan,’ and to Secretary Carter on several occasions. He remains committed to stopping the president from moving a single detainee to the U.S. and will continue to use all legislative tools at his disposal to do so.”