The U.S. Senate unanimously backed President Barack Obama’s long-stalled nomination of Eric Fanning as secretary of the Army on Tuesday, making him the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service branch.
Fanning had served as Acting Secretary while his confirmation was placed on hold by Senator Pat Roberts (R-KS), who reportedly wanted assurances that the Obama administration would not move any detainees from Guantánamo Bay to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
The HRC praised the Senate for confirming Eric Fanning who is now the highest-ranking, Senate-confirmed openly-LGBT appointed official.
“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,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Eric Fanning has spent his career serving this nation with tireless dedication, skill and ability, and as secretary he will bring that same commitment to the men and women of the U.S. Army.”
HRC adds: “Fanning’s nomination comes just five years after the historic end of the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” (DADT) law that prohibited qualified LGB Americans from serving in the U.S. armed forces. His confirmation comes as the military is preparing to move forward to lift the ban on transgender service in the military”.