A delegation from the California National Guard for the first time took part in the Los Angeles Gay Pride Parade on Sunday.

Major General David S. Baldwin and Assembly Speaker John A. Perez, a Democrat and the first openly gay person elected as House speaker, led the contingent in a National Guard Humvee. A second military vehicle and a banner that read “The California National Guard -Yes! We Really do Want You!” were part of the contingent.

The California National Guard also had its first-ever recruiting booth at the Pride Festival following the parade.

“The overwhelmingly positive response to the California National Guard from Pride participants today was matched only by the respect and enthusiasm the Guard showed toward our community,” said Perez in a statement. “Today makes it absolutely clear the Guard is committed to including and reflecting all the people they serve.”

Baldwin, the Guard's adjutant general, added: “We are a performance-based force, and one's sexual orientation shouldn't affect their ability to serve and excel. Duty to one's state and nation – not sexual orientation – is the defining trait of our soldiers and airmen.”

The California National Guard will also have a recruiting presence at Pride events throughout the state, including Sacramento, San Francisco, San Diego and San Jose.