First openly gay civilian military head confirmed

By John Mack Freeman

Eric Fanning has been confirmed as Army Secretary after nearly eight months of delay on his nomination. Now that he is confirmed, Fanning is the first openly-GLBT individual to be the civilian head of one of the branches of the military. Via Washington Blade:

Never before has the U.S. Senate confirmed an openly gay person as the civilian head of one of the military services. Fanning has under the Obama administration served on the civilian side of each of the military services at the Pentagon and was chief of staff to Defense Secretary Ashton Carter.

LGBT advocates have said the confirmation makes Fanning the highest-ranking openly gay person in the U.S. government. Other appointees who may hold claim to that distinction are Fred Hochberg, chair of the U.S. Export-Import Bank, or U.S. Chief Technology Officer Megan Smith.

Prior to the vote, Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kansas) had held up the confirmation by placing a hold on the nominee. The lawmaker, who has a long anti-LGBT voting record in the Senate, said he based his hold on Obama’s plan to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, citing concern detainees would be relocated to Ft. Leavenworth in Kansas.


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