The Defense Department on Thursday announced it is allowing service members to march in uniform in a gay pride parade for the first time in U.S. history.
In a memorandum sent to all its branches, the department said it was making the allowance for San Diego’s gay pride parade on Saturday even though its policy generally bars troops from marching in uniform in parades.
The Defense Department said it did so because organizers had encouraged military personnel to march in their uniform and the event was getting national attention…..
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
Former sailor Sean Sala, who organized the military’s participation in the parade, said he wanted service members to wear their official uniform this year to show there is no longer anything to hide.
“My soul is on fire,” he said after hearing the news Thursday. “They don’t fight in T-shirts. They fight in uniforms. This is about showing who they are.”
The Pentagon said the allowance is only for this year’s parade in San Diego and does not extend beyond that. Military personnel wearing civilian clothes do not need permission to march in any parades.
The Defense Department policy says personnel cannot march in parades in uniform unless they receive approval from their commanding officers or other Pentagon-approved authorities.
Sala believes there will be no going back after Saturday. He said he has reached his dream in seeing the U.S. military sanction participation in a gay pride parade, as the armed forces have done in Canada and Great Britain.
Check out Rex Wockner’s coverage of the gays-in-the-military marching in last year’s parade.