Military members march in San Diego's annual gay pride parade for first time
Courtesy of News 8's Rekha Muddaraj.
SAN DIEGO (CNS) - About 200 active-duty and retired military personnel in San Diego turned out for Saturday's 37th annual Pride Parade.
Those taking part in the parade did not wear their uniforms, but their very presence signaled a sea change after the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was weakened.
Instead of uniforms, the marchers wore T-shirts that identified their branch of military service, walking alongside two horses, one draped with an American flag, the other with a rainbow flag.
After months of legal wrangling, the Pentagon announced Friday the "don't ask, don't tell" policy would temporarily remain in place, with a major exception. While the military can reject openly gay recruits, they cannot investigate, penalize or discharge service members who are openly gay.
The request for a temporary reinstatement came from the Department of Justice on Thursday, saying that ending the policy all together would short-circuit the military's process of reversing its ban on homosexuals.
More than 150,000 people attended the parade and associated Pride Festival at Marston Point in Balboa Park, which featured music and entertainment by stand-up comic Margaret Cho.
Earlier this week, the San Diego City Council declared July "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month."
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SAN DIEGO (CNS) - The 37th annual Pride Parade is today, with the first active-duty military contingent to participate in such an event since the armed forces announced its "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy would be rescinded.
The military group will reportedly number around 350 people, mostly active-duty and mostly gay, but they won't wear their uniforms. They plan to wear T-shirts signifying their branch of service.
After months of legal wrangling, the Pentagon announced last week it would tell its commands to honor a court ruling that determined the policy was unconstitutional. Action by new Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected any day.
About 150,000 people are expected to attend the parade and associated
Pride Festival at Marston Point in Balboa Park, which features music and other entertainment, culminated by a performance by comic Margaret Cho.
Earlier this week, the San Diego City Council declared July to be Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride Month, to honor their community contributions.