CAMP PENDLETON, Calif. – 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 a memorandum, 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 uniform and the event was getting national attention.
The move came only weeks after the Pentagon joined the rest of the U.S. government for the first time in marking June as gay pride month and made an official salute to gay and lesbian service members.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta vowed in a message to remove as many barriers as possible to making the military a model of equal opportunity and said gays and lesbians can be proud in uniform with the repeal of the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law.
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