US allows uniformed soldiers in gay march

2012-07-20 09:03
AP

AP

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

kalahari.com

  • The Amateur
    A gripping read that reveals never before published details about the Obama administration's... Now R321.00
    buy now
Washington - The Department of Defence, in a first-of-its-kind move, will allow active duty members of all branches of the US military to don their service uniforms while marching in an upcoming San Diego gay pride parade, event organisers said on Thursday.

The move, confirmed in an internal defence memo, marks the first time the military has granted such blanket permission since the September repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, under which gay individuals were allowed to serve in the military only if they did not divulge their sexual orientation.

"It is our understanding that event organisers plan to have a portion of the parade dedicated to military members," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defence for Community and Public Outreach Rene Bardorf wrote in an internal memo.

"We further understand organisers are encouraging service members to seek their commander's approval to march in uniform and to display their pride," Bardorf wrote.

Citing national media attention to the issue, Bardorf granted approval for service members to participate, but limited that approval in scope to the 2012 San Diego Pride Parade.

San Diego has a large military presence due to its naval base and the nearby Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton.

50 000 people expected

Nearly 400 military members have already signed up to march in the parade, according to organiser San Diego LGBT Pride.

Many more are expected to participate in the military parade after the announcement went public, Fernando Lopez, the director of public affairs for San Diego LGBT Pride, said. More than 50 000 people are expected to attend the weekend festivities overall, organisers said.

"We are hopeful that those who have feared coming to share in the joy of Pride out of concern for losing their military careers will be able to finally celebrate their full and complete selves," San Diego LGBT Pride said in a statement.

In the past, only armed services veterans, not those on active duty, were allowed to wear their uniforms at gay pride parades. Commanders could give permission to individuals to take part in such events in uniform but no blanket permission had previously been issued, Lopez said.

In a second internal memo published on Thursday, Bardorf said that for parades other than the San Diego event for which he issued a specific memo, local commanders are given discretion in allowing service members to participate unless it is "likely to garner national or international interest or news coverage".

The approval for active service members of the Army, Marine Corps, Navy and Air Force to participate in the gay pride parade in uniform is the latest of a string of milestones following the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell".

First gay wedding on base


The US military celebrated gay pride month at the Pentagon for the first time last month, an event that other federal agencies like the CIA had been celebrating for years.

Also in June, active-duty Air Force Technical Sergeant Erwynn Umali married his civilian partner Will Behrens on the McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst joint military base in New Jersey. The wedding, first reported by Slate magazine this week, was the first same sex marriage on an American military base.

Under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy, more than 14 500 US service members were thrown out of the military since the rule went into effect in 1993, according to the Servicemembers Legal Defence Network.

Many senior members of the military had publicly warned against repealing the ban in wartime, saying it could hurt cohesion of troops or undermine morale. The Pentagon said in May that there had been no such impact.

The end of the policy has come at a time of steadily increasing public support for same-sex marriage. The Gallup polling organisation said in a recent survey that half of American adults are now in favour of gay marriage.

Also in May, President Barack Obama said he believes same-sex couples should be allowed to marry, and the nation's largest civil rights group, the National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People, later endorsed gay marriage, saying the fight for gay rights was a civil rights issue.

Read more on:    barack obama  |  us  |  gay rights
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com 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
8 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Deal of the week!

20% off Afrikaans books, music and DVDs. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Hot gaming titles – available for pre-order!

Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare Day Zero Edition, Far Cry 4, Grand Theft Auto 5 and more. Pre-order now!

Get a free eBook

Buy 3 eBooks and get the cheapest FREE. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Bargain box – 60% off

Reduced prices, very limited stock. While stocks last. Hurry and shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Power and leadership are emphasized today. It is important to strategize and delegate well otherwise you may end up with too much...read more

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

Hello 

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 24.com network.

Settings

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.