For the first time in U.S. history,
service members will be allowed to march in a Gay Pride parade in
The Department of Defense on Thursday
announced it would allow troops to march in San Diego's Gay Pride
parade on Saturday.
The department said it was allowing the
exception because organizers had encouraged military personnel to
march in their uniform.
A contingent of about 200 active-duty
service members last year marched in San Diego's parade. But troops
were not allowed to participate in uniform; instead they wore
t-shirts with their branch's name.
“My soul is on fire,” Sean Sala, a
former sailor who led on the action, told the AP. “They don't
fight in t-shirts. They fight in uniforms. This is about showing
who they are.”
The Defense Department allows personnel
to march in parades in uniform if they receive approval from their
“I think many people thought after
'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' was gone, discriminatory things would be
eradicated,” Sala said. “But now these parades have become a
very sticky subject as far as commanders using their own discretion
because they are showing either a bias toward a pride parade, or the
right view, which this is about recognizing who people are.”
The move comes just weeks after the
Pentagon celebrated Gay Pride for the first time.