Ending months of chicanery and pointless politics-driven obfuscation, the U.S. Senate Wednesday unanimously confirmed the nomination of Eric Fanning to the post of Secretary of the Army. Fanning is the first openly gay man to head a military branch in U.S. history.
Fanning is eminently qualified, having served as both undersecretary of defense and acting secretary of the Air Force. No one was actively opposed to his confirmation on fitness grounds, which can be seen in the fact that he was unanimously confirmed. One of his staunchest supporters, in fact, was Senator John McCain. This in and of itself is sort of amazing; you couldn’t even get the modern U.S. Senate to agree on pizza toppings, let alone confirm an Obama nominee for anything.
Fanning had originally been nominated for the post in November 2015, and at no point during his nomination did any senators actually oppose his confirmation. So what took so long?
Senator Pat Roberts of Kansas. Roberts long professed the belief that Fanning was the right man for the job, and expressed no issues with his homosexuality. Instead, Roberts was openly holding up his confirmation on political grounds over the possibility of the Obama administration moving prisoners currently held at Guantanamo Bay to Fort Leavenworth in Kansas. After the administration finally privately told Roberts, “Chill, Pat. We won’t send the SCARY TERRORISTS to where they can escape and wreak Muslim-y havoc on Topeka,” the senator finally acquiesced and Fanning’s confirmation was allowed to proceed.
Gay rights, particularly those pertaining to military service, have come a long way in a short time. Just five years ago, “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy whereby gays were not allowed to serve openly in the military, was still the law of the land. We might soon be going even farther: Fanning himself supports allowing transgender individuals to serve openly in the military.
All in all, things are looking up for fans of social progress in the U.S. armed forces, and down for idiot homophobic bigots. Huzzah!
(Via NBC News)