Army Secretary quotes Beyoncé and thanks boyfriend as he takes up office, five years on from DADT
The first ever openly gay head of the US Army is shattering remnants of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ stigma – gaying it up in his first week in office.
Eric Fanning was nominated by President Obama to be the United States Secretary of the Army in November – the first time an openly gay person has taken on the role.
After a hold-up in Congress, he was finally confirmed by the United States Senate on May 17 – less than five years after openly gay people were banned from even serving in the military under ‘Don’t Ask Don’t Tell’.
However, there’s been plenty of ‘Telling’ from Mr Fanning – who thanked his partner Ben Masri-Cohen in his first comments as Secretary, after being sworn in.
The official told reporters: “It has been a long process to get here,” Fanning, 47, said. “But it’s worth it. This is a tremendous honour for me.
“It’s a confusing process that makes you feel vulnerable and out there alone,” added Fanning. “So I thank all of you for all that you have done these many months to help me get confirmed.
“And Ben, your patience at home, because I know there were days that I probably was not the most pleasant person to be around.”
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He also took to Twitter to reach out to Beyoncé, referencing her new album.
He wrote: “After a five month wait, I’ve had to make #LEMONADE. Now I’m ready to #slay. @Beyonce”.
Fanning’s confirmation had been blocked by Kansas Republican Pat Roberts for political reasons – which had nothing to do with Fanning or his role.
Roberts had demanded assurances that the Obama administration will not move detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas upon its closure.
However, Roberts dropped his opposition this month after pressure from other Republicans – claiming he had had assurances on the issue from the Obama administration.