Wednesday, May 18, 2016
Eric Fanning confirmed as the first openly gay Secretary of the Army
Fanning has served as acting Air Force Secretary, and as chief of staff for the Defense Secretary. Regardless of his high qualifications, Fanning has had a surprisingly difficult time being confirmed. After his nomination in September of last year, Sen. John McCain held off confirmations for Defense Department nominees in protest of Democratic rule changes and a veto threat on the 2016 defense policy bill by President Obama. Fanning later served as acting Defense Secretary after former secretary McHugh's retirement in November, but was stopped in January by the Senate.
Fanning's appointment is a historic one, and it's been a shame that it took so long to go through. It's frankly rather ridiculous that such a critical confirmation for the LGBT community and America as a whole was delayed in the name of politics. President Obama's plan to close Guantanamo Bay has been incredibly contentious, but I feel that placing holds on these sorts of symbolic confirmations is a unpleasant negotiation tactic.
What does this nomination mean for the future? Is Obama truly out of time to close Guantanamo Bay? With a possible President Trump on the horizon, what would happen to current and future possible LGBT officials like Fanning?