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Senate panel confirms first openly gay military service leader

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WASHINGTON (AP) - The Senate Armed Services Committee has confirmed the first openly gay leader of a U.S. military service.

By voice vote Thursday, committee members approved the nomination of Eric Fanning to be Army secretary.

The committee met in January to consider Fanning's nomination shortly after he stepped down from the job in an acting capacity.

Committee members had expressed concern a federal law governing requirements for filling openings that require Senate confirmation would be violated if Fanning continued as acting secretary.

The committee chairman, Sen. John McCain of Arizona, said Fanning's resignation "cured" the problem, but the committee adjourned without voting.

In early November, GOP Sen. Pat Roberts of Kansas placed a hold on Fanning's nomination to protest the Obama administration's efforts to close the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.

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