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All branches of military granted permission to march in uniform at San Diego Pride Parade

By Ken Williams| San Diego Gay and Lesbian News
Thursday, July 19, 2012

SAN DIEGO — Any service member of the Marine Corps, Army, Navy, Coast Guard and Air Force can march proudly in uniform in the military contingent at San Diego Pride on Saturday.

The official word came down from the Defense Department this afternoon giving a blanket permission for all branches of the military to march while dressed in their uniforms.

Military continegent at last year's pride.

“Today is a great day of Pride! San Diego Pride is honored to have the privilege of celebrating our country and our service members with dignity and respect,” said Dwayne Crenshaw, San Diego LGBT Pride executive director. “The fight for equality is not over and it is not easy, but this is a giant leap in the right direction.”

The memo was issued by Reni C. Bardorf, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Community Outreach. Here is what the letter, in part, said:

“Service members do not need approval to wear civilian clothes and march or ride in nonpartisan parades. However, we further understand organizers are encouraging service members to seek their commander’s approval to march in uniform and to display their pride.

“… We hereby are granting approval for service members in uniform to participate in this year’s parade, provided service members (1) participate in their personal capacity and (2) ensure the adherence to Military Service standards of appearance and wear of the military uniform. This approval is applicable for individual participation in the 2012 San Diego Pride Parade only.”

SDGLN broke two stories on Wednesday that were picked up all over the U.S. that the military was sending mixed messages about whether service members could march in uniform in the military contingent at Pride Parade on Saturday.

Local activists and politicians went to work behind the scenes to put pressure on the Defense Department to make a decision that was fair and equal to all branches of the military. With the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” it seemed odd that the DoD would not issue a blanket permission that applied to every service member.

In her letter, Bardorf acknowledged that the Pride military contingent story “has garnered national media attention” and that the DoD was reacting as a result.

© San Diego Gay and Lesbian News.
An LGBTQ Nation media partner.

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16 more reader comments:

  1. HOOAH!

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 7:38pm
  2. Hooray!

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 7:41pm
  3. That’s great…

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 7:41pm
  4. Kudos to the military command supporting this nonpolitical event. I’m a straight veteran and served with gays and lesbians and it makes me very proud as a veteran to see we have made great strides since I entered the service in 1980.

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 7:43pm
  5. Ooh babies, I am loving this!

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 7:43pm
  6. Awesome!

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 7:53pm
  7. YESSSS!!!

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 7:54pm
  8. Smiling!!! Tears of joy!!!

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 7:55pm
  9. So proud of my home town!

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 8:11pm
  10. that is soooo fantastic

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 8:28pm
  11. did you ever think?!

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 8:30pm
  12. This is awesome!

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 8:39pm
  13. That will be an amazing site

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 8:59pm
  14. It’s about time!

    Posted on Thursday, July 19, 2012 at 8:59pm
  15. i love this so much. i lived in great falls montana home of malmstrom air force base one of the biggest in country. knowing all those gay service members( LOTS) and knowing how dedicated most were ,, the fear of being outed was always there for them.

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 12:34am
  16. Please add me as a friend! I’m trying to make my page a place to discuss gay rights for both sides of the argument. I would like to make my own opinions but I need to be educated and that takes lots of different opinions of others

    Posted on Friday, July 20, 2012 at 11:06am