Senate Confirms First Openly Gay Top Military Leader

The U.S. Senate late Tuesday unanimously confirmed Eric Fanning as Secretary of the Army, making him the highest-ranking openly gay official at the Pentagon and the first openly gay man to lead a branch of the U.S. military.

Fanning, 47, was nominated by President Barack Obama in September, and his confirmation comes five years after the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell,” the policy that did not allow gays and lesbians to serve openly in the military. (As a holder of civilian roles in the Defense Department, DADT did not necessarily apply to Fanning.)

“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,” Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement Tuesday night.

Fanning’s confirmation had been held up for eight months by Republican Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas over his disagreement with the Obama administration regarding the moving of detainees from the military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, to the U.S.

Roberts said on the Senate floor Tuesday that he had received the “assurances I needed to hear to lift my hold.”

“I’m honored by today’s Senate confirmation and thrilled to return to lead the total Army team,” Fanning said in a statement Tuesday night.

Related Story: Obama Names First Openly Gay Civilian To Lead Army

Fanning previously served as the Army secretary’s principal adviser on management and operation. He was undersecretary of the Air Force from April 2013 to February 2015, and for half a year he was the acting secretary of the Air Force.

In announcing his nomination in September, Obama cited Fanning’s long tenure in the Pentagon and his broad and deep experience with some of the Defense Department’s most complex programs as a key factor in his selection.

Latest News

statues, MLK, king

Celebrating 5 MLK Statues, Memorials and Significant Locations Across the Country—All Worth a Visit

A crucial part of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s work in the Civil Rights movement was protecting voting rights. Instead of MLK Day celebrations this year, the leader’s family is spearheading a supportive push towards voting rights reform across the country. Statues honoring Dr. King’s activism and messages pay tribute…

Georgia Power

Georgia Power and Microsoft Grant Over $200,000 to Clark Atlanta University’s Solar-Powered Generator Student Venture

Originally published at Southern Company ranked No. 20 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2021.   Georgia Power and Microsoft announced more than a $200,000 investment in support of Clark Atlanta University’s (CAU) Makerspace and Advanced Manufacturing Lab. The lab is developed to give entrepreneurial undergraduate…