Military march in gay parade questioned

2012-07-25 13:04


Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington — Congressional Republicans challenged Defence Secretary Leon Panetta on Tuesday to explain why the Defence Department allowed active-duty troops to wear their uniforms while marching in San Diego's gay pride parade last weekend.

In a letter to Panetta, Senator Jim Inhofe said department rules bar service members from participating in political activities while in uniform and pressed Panetta on why a waiver was granted, who requested it and why it was considered over others.

Inhofe, who serves on the Armed Services Committee, also pointed out that administrative action has been taken against service members who have violated the rule.

"If the Navy can punish a chaplain for participating in a pro-life event or a Marine participating in a political rally, it stands to reason that the Defence Department should maintain the same standard and preclude service members in uniform from marching in a gay pride parade," Inhofe wrote.

In a statement accompanying the letter, Inhofe said he was concerned that the Obama administration "continues to force its liberal social agenda on the military by promoting the homosexual agenda, mandating the use of high-cost green energy initiatives, pursuing abortion rights and suppressing the free exercise of religious liberties".

On Saturday, dozens of soldiers, sailors and Marines in uniform marched alongside an old Army truck with a "Freedom to Serve" banner and a rainbow flag. Dozens of military personnel in civilian clothes joined them.

Critical of change

The Pentagon had advised all its branches that it was making an exception for the San Diego parade even though its policy prohibits service members from marching in uniform in political parades.

The department said it made the exception because organisers had encouraged military personnel to march in their uniform and the event was getting national attention.

The waiver only applied to this year's parade in San Diego.

The administration, with the backing of Congress, ended the policy barring gays to serve openly in the military. Nevertheless, several Republicans in Congress have been critical of the change in policy and have pushed legislation to limit the new policy.

Read more on:    us  |  gay rights

Join the conversation! encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions. publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24


Prince George the green prince?

Prince Charles hopes his grandson's love of the outdoors will become a passion for the environment.



One man's $1 million vision for an eco Africa
China's air pollution at doomsday levels
Keep food fresher for longer
Hurricanes, earthquakes and floods – What climate change really means for us

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly


The pace may be slow today and you may struggle to get things off the ground level, but it is important to focus on the more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.