WASHINGTON — The U.S. Senate has confirmed the nomination of Eric Fanning to serve as Army secretary—a move that homosexual groups note make him the nation’s first openly homosexual secretary of the Army.
“I’m honored by today’s Senate confirmation and thrilled to return to lead the total Army team,” he said in a statement on Tuesday.
Fanning had previously served as special assistant to Deputy Secretary of Defense Robert Work. He also served as the undersecretary of the Air Force from 2013 to 2015, and for a time was the acting secretary of the Air Force.
Barack Obama had nominated Fanning for the post last September, but Kansas Sen. Pat Roberts placed a hold on the matter out of concern over whether the Obama administration would move detainees from Guantanamo Bay to Ft. Leavenworth.
As he reportedly received assurances last week that the move would not occur as there was not time left to do so, a vote on Fanning moved forward.
“I believe that because of last week, in a private meeting with Deputy Defense Secretary Robert Work, I received the assurances I needed to hear to release my hold on Mr. Fanning,” Roberts told the Senate on Tuesday.
“I look forward to voting for Mr. Fanning, who has always had my support for this position,” he stated. “My hold was never about his courage, character or capability, but rather about our nation’s security if the detainees were moved to Ft. Leavenworth.”
The vote to confirm Fanning was unanimous, with some noting his homosexuality in praising the confirmation, such as Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska, who Tweeted that the approval was “an historic moment for #LGBT service members.”
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-California, also Tweeted, “Congratulations to Eric Fanning on historic appointment as the first openly gay @SECARMY.”
Homosexual advocacy groups applauded the confirmation in focusing on Fanning’s sexuality, with Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin remarking in a statement, “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.”
As previously reported, homosexuality was outlawed in early America as a number of states passed sodomy laws under their criminal statutes, banning sexual activity between those of the same gender due to biblical prohibitions against it.
“By 1791, when the original 13 states ratified the Bill of Rights, they all treated sodomy as a criminal offense,” chronicles on the matter state.
In 1778, General George Washington ordered Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin to be drummed out of the camp for “attempting to commit sodomy” with a male soldier.
His March 14th proclamation stated, “His Excellency, the Commander in Chief, approves the sentence, and with abhorrence and detestation of such infamous crimes, orders Lieut. Enslin to be drummed out of camp tomorrow morning by all the drummers and fifers in the Army never to return; the drummers and fifers to attend on the Grand Parade at guard mounting for that purpose.”