Servicemen and women allowed to march in uniform at San Diego's Gay Pride Parade
Friday 20 July 2012
Servicemen and women are being allowed to march in uniform in a gay pride parade for the first time in US history.
In a memo to all its branches, the Defence Department said it was making the allowance for San Diego's Gay Pride Parade tomorrow even though its policy generally bars troops from marching in uniform in parades.
The department said it did so because organisers had encouraged military personnel to march in their uniform and the event was getting national attention.
The move came only weeks after the Pentagon joined the rest of the US government for the first time in marking June as gay pride month and made an official salute to gay and lesbian service members.
Defence secretary Leon Panetta vowed in a video message to remove as many barriers as possible to making the military a model of equal opportunity and said gays and lesbians could be proud in uniform with the repeal last year of the "don't ask, don't tell" law.
Last year San Diego's Gay Pride Parade had the nation's largest contingency of active-duty troops participate before the military lifted its ban on openly-gay service members. About 200 service members last year wore T-shirts with their branch's name.
Former sailor Sean Sala, who organised the military's participation in the parade, said he wanted service members to wear their official uniform this year to show there was no longer anything to hide.
"My soul is on fire," he said after hearing the news last night. "They don't fight in T-shirts. They fight in uniforms. This is about showing who they are."
The Pentagon said the allowance was only for this year's parade in San Diego and did not extend beyond that. Military personnel wearing civilian clothes do not need permission to march in any parades.
- 1 Woman and two children killed by mob in riots over 'blasphemous' Facebook post in Pakistan
- 2 The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
- 3 Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
- 4 Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
- 5 Businessman charged £75 for three small bottles of water in London hotel
Danish TV reporter is all business up top, all party down below
Israel-Gaza conflict: President Obama presses Netanyahu to call ‘immediate and unconditional’ Gaza ceasefire
Ross Burden dead: MasterChef and Ready Steady Cook star, dies aged 45
Zayn Malik on Israel-Gaza: One Direction singer bombarded with Twitter death threats after posting #FreePalestine
MH17 crash: Black boxes show plane suffered 'massive explosive decompression' following shrapnel hit
The secret report that helps Israelis to hide facts
A day in the life of Vladimir Putin: The dictator in his labyrinth
A new Russian revolution: The cracks are starting to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Were 'Poor Doors' added to mixed developments so wealthy residents don't have to go in alongside social housing tenants?
Arizona execution lasts two hours as killer Joseph Wood left 'snorting and gasping' for air
Opponents of Israel's military operation in Gaza are the real enemies of Middle Eastern peace
£26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...
£35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...
Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...
£28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...