For the first time in US history, there will be a gay US Defense Secretary. On Tuesday afternoon, the Senate confirmed Eric Fanning as the first openly gay secretary of the army.
Senator John McCain, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, told Defense News that there would be no voting as the decision to select Eric Fanning as the New Defence Secretary is unanimous.
However, after Eric’s nomination in last September, the confirmation process was deterred by many obstacles. As per reports, what happened was very strange as senators agreed that Fanning is well qualified for the job. Here’s a glimpse of the happenings before Tuesday afternoon’s decision.
Challenges for Eric Fanning began when John McCain stopped confirmation for key civilian DoD nominees. He did so to protest Democratic rule changes in the confirmation process and also Obama’s decision to veto 2016 defence policy bill. The hold was later withdrawn in December.
Next, Eric Fanning was announced as the acting secretary of the Department by the Obama administration after McHugh’s retirement in November. However, the decision did not go very well with the senators and in January Fanning was forced to suspend acting in the capacity. Although in March, he was cleared by the Senate armed Services committee.
But he was about to face another stepping stone on his way.
This time, it was Senator Pat Roberts. Roberts had placed a hold on his nomination, as he did not want the Obama administration to move any detainees from Guantánamo Bay to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas. But on Tuesday, the senator said that he had dropped his hold as “the clock has run out” for President Obama to move the detainees, reported The Hill.
Towleroad quoted Ashley Broadway-Mack, American Military Partner Association President, who commented on Fanning’s achievement, “We are thrilled to see Eric Fanning finally confirmed as the next Secretary of the Army. His leadership and experience within the defence community together with his sensitivity towards issues specifically facing our LGBT service members and their families make him the ideal candidate to lead our nation’s Army.”
“It has been a long, arduous road to his confirmation, and we look forward to working with him directly in the near future,” he added.
On Intl Day Against Homophobia & Transphobia, Eric Fanning becomes 1st openly gay leader of branch of armed forces! pic.twitter.com/ybMRVO6CTU
— Mark Takano (@RepMarkTakano) May 17, 2016
Eric Fanning confirmed as secretary of Army, making him first openly gay leader of a US military service. branch.https://t.co/JfulDIeEmz
— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) May 17, 2016
Breaking News: Historic Confirmation As Eric Fanning Becomes First Openly-Gay Secretary of the U.S. Army pic.twitter.com/oWIdIg2Cfq
— HumanRightsCampaign (@HRC) May 17, 2016