Eric Fanning Just Became The First Openly Gay Secretary Of The Army

Photo: Getty/Alex Wong.
The Senate just confirmed Eric Fanning as Secretary of the Army, making him the first openly gay person to ever serve in that position. The Senate's unanimous vote suggests that attitudes toward LGBTQ people in this country could be changing.

As a former acting Army secretary, special assistant to the Defense Secretary, and undersecretary of the Air Force, Fanning is more than qualified for the job. President Obama first nominated him back in September, but a number of political disputes put off the confirmation. They were finally able to move forward after Sen. Pat Roberts and the Obama administration settled a disagreement about the closing of Guantanamo Bay.

"This milestone of having an openly gay individual in this high level position within the Department of Defense will help to continue to set a tone of understanding and respect for the LGBT community throughout the armed services,” Matt Thorn of the LGBT military advocacy group OutServe-SLDN told The Huffington Post. Similarly, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin told NBC that the decision was "historic" and marked a "demonstration of the continued progress towards fairness and equality in our nation's armed forces."

Gay people in the military still aren't always welcomed with open arms. But hopefully, this development marks a step forward for their inclusion.

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