Senate Confirms Eric Fanning, First Openly Gay Army Secretary
The Obama Administration is creating historic moments and stories that will be passed down for generations to come.
The newest announcement is that Eric Fanning is now the first openly gay Army secretary of the United States, which the Senate confirmed last Tuesday evening. This news comes about five years after the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” which did not allow gay and lesbian service members to talk about their sexuality publicly.
“Eric Fanning’s historic confirmation today as Secretary of the U.S. Army is a demonstration of the continued progress towards fairness and equality in our nation’s armed forces,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement.
Fanning had served as the Army secretary’s adviser on management and operation. He was also the undersecretary of the Air Force from April 2013 to February 2-15, and was the acting secretary of the Air Force for half a year.
“I’m honored by today’s Senate confirmation and thrilled to return to lead the total Army team,” Fanning said in a statement.
The vote came after Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas dropped his oppositions to close the prison at the United States navel base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.
“Let me be very clear on this — as a veteran, a Marine — I support Mr. Eric Fanning for this post,” Roberts said on the Senate floor late last month. “If the White House calls and assures me that terrorists held at Guantanamo will not come to Fort Leavenworth, I will release the hold — immediately.”
After Roberts has changed his mind in order to let Fanning’s confirmation continue, Roberts stated his thoughts that he has always thought that Fanning was the right person to lead the military’s largest branch, which has about 470,000 active troops.
“He will be a tremendous leader as Army secretary and will do great by our soldiers at Fort Leavenworth and Fort Riley,” Roberts said before the vote.
(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)