July 20th, 2012
05:41 AM ET

U.S. military can wear uniform in San Diego gay pride parade: Defense Department

By the CNN Wire Staff

The U.S. Department of Defense is giving the go-ahead to all active-duty military personnel to wear their uniform to march in a gay pride parade in San Diego on Saturday, the first time such approval has been given in the United States.

The Defense Department decision followed news that the Navy had given approval to sailors to wear their uniform in the parade, which drew hundreds of active-duty service members last year shortly before the administration repealed "don't ask, don't tell."

"Based on our current knowledge of the event and existing policies, we hereby are granting approval for service members in uniform to participate in this year's parade," Rene C. Bardorf, deputy assistant secretary of defense for community and public outreach, said in a memorandum released Thursday.

The blanket approval for the various branches of the military applies only to the 2012 San Diego Pride Parade, Bardorf said.

Just a year ago, an active-duty service member faced punishment or discharge if he or she admitted being homosexual, but last September the administration scrapped the policy known as "don't ask, don't tell."

The Defense Department approval to allow service members to wear uniforms at the San Diego parade follows reports that members of the military wore uniforms at a gay pride event held at the Pentagon in June.

Under the guidelines released by the Defense Department, service members can wear their uniforms to march in the parade as long as they participate "in a personal capacity" and follow set standards of "appearance and wear of the military uniform."

While members of the military do not need approval to participate in civic events, they generally need approval to wear their uniforms.

More than 300 active-duty service members have signed up to participate in the parade, Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of San Diego Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride, said Thursday.

Last year, roughly 200 active-duty and retired military service members marched in the San Diego parade, donning T-shirts to indicate their branch of military service. The 2011 parade took place one day after a federal appeals court temporarily reinstated the "don't ask, don't tell" policy. The policy was formally revoked months later.

- CNN's Adam Levine and Scott Thompson contributed to this report.

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Filed under: Military
soundoff (40 Responses)
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  12. Jimmy

    So its ok for them, but not for the moms wanting to use their uniform to promote moms in military to
    breast feed? Ahahahahaha

    July 23, 2012 at 11:49 am | Reply
  13. alf564

    Remember Ft Hood. We all love Major Nadal.....Is he still allowed to wear the uniform in prison...guess the DOD wants
    to be PC ....Azz holez generals !!

    July 22, 2012 at 3:19 pm | Reply
  14. alf564

    Hey blame this on George W Bush ....!!!

    July 22, 2012 at 3:16 pm | Reply
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  16. edward_s

    Why can't they just wear a t-shirt with their branches name on it? this is sad. The uniform is for work. It should be left there. Unless they are going to redo the USMJ this is wrong. They even say just for the San Diego event. Why? That's crap. What about a pro-choice or pro-abortion rallies? What about pro-state? This is playing favorites. The USMJ needs to be addressed for this to happen.

    July 22, 2012 at 2:44 am | Reply
    • alf564

      You are 100% correct

      July 22, 2012 at 3:20 pm | Reply
    • Thomas

      UCMJ not USMJ

      July 23, 2012 at 6:13 am | Reply
  17. wavejump1100

    i dont think there are that many gay men in the military. just doesnt seem to fit the personality of most of the gays i know. the gay men i know dont want to fight and kill people they want to decorate houses. i bet there are many more gay women in the military. this does fit the personality of the gay women i know. they can be scary. of course this is just my opinion and based on the small circle of gay people i know.

    July 21, 2012 at 10:14 pm | Reply
  18. Gilbert

    Now I can march in uniform at anti-gay parades!

    July 21, 2012 at 6:03 pm | Reply
    • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

      That's a great idea! Perhaps you can contact Michelle Bachman about the Minneapolis Hitler day parade for family values. National Socalism and the Nazi Party havew been supporters of the traditional family for years. Get that brown shirt out of the cleaners and march!

      July 21, 2012 at 8:45 pm | Reply
  19. Gilbert

    When I was in the Marines most of the gay males were beaten up for a number of reason. They pose an embarrassment and a danger to the unity of a platoon, squad, squadron, company and battalion. Why should it change.

    July 21, 2012 at 6:00 pm | Reply
    • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

      That's a great idea! Perhaps the Marines should organize betaings of Black and Mexican soldiers too. I'm sure that this would be great for unit cohesion!

      July 21, 2012 at 8:37 pm | Reply
  20. what a joke!

    U.S. military has became a joke!

    July 21, 2012 at 5:42 pm | Reply
    • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

      It may be a joke, but neither Saddam Hussein nor Mr. Ghadhafi are laughing.

      July 21, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Reply
    • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, B.A., J.D., S.P.J.

      It seems that it's always the guys that enjoy football on the couch, who were parying fore an acquittal for Jerry Sandusky, and who would rather move to Canada than enlist in the military that are critical of our troops.

      July 21, 2012 at 8:42 pm | Reply
  21. Where are the standards

    What has happened to America's Military? Where are the standards? The DoD policy has, for a long time, DISALLOWED military uniforms at political events. IF they want to do away with this standard, then it must uniformly be applied (now service members can appear in uniform at NRA rallies, anti-gay/anti-abortion ralles, political rallies, and so on).

    July 21, 2012 at 1:40 pm | Reply
  22. GG

    I am in the Army and I respect your personal choices. Now can we wear uniforms at anti abortion parades? When you wear your uniform around civilians the are representing your service. We can't even go to an alcohol dispensing store in uniform to avoid people mislabel us as drunks... I believe the service should give the oportunity to request being released from active duty for those that don't agree with all this. Just like I wrote at the begining I respect them but do not agree abd I joined because their values and we don't have them anymore. If thats the case they should let you wear your uniform anywhere as long as it properly worn. I am going to show up in a political campaing party in uniform to see what happens....

    July 21, 2012 at 11:11 am | Reply
  23. heather

    Wow. I am in the military and I support the repeal of "don't ask don't tell" full-heartedly, but I completely disagree with the DoD's decision to allow them to march in uniform. When I put on this uniform I am not me, and what "I" stand for anymore. I am part of something bigger, and I have an intense appreciation for the meaning behind the uniform and all that it stands for. Don't get me wrong, I take part in politics and I make sure my voice gets heard on what I feel about what is going on. I feel that is my civic duty. But I would NEVER use my uniform as a tool like that.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:59 pm | Reply
  24. Jennifer

    This initiative is moving very fast, it is surprising to see, but I am very happy that our military is allowed to formally support human rights.

    July 20, 2012 at 1:10 pm | Reply
  25. WLB

    Are you kidding me? How can the DoD sanction this but they won't allow us to wear the uniform in public for any other type of event? In the past, when we participated in a parade (e.g. July 4th, Veterans Day) wearing our uniforms, we had to be in some sort of duty-status for legal reasons. What sort of duty-status are these people going to be in? I'm all for equal treatment, but this goes beyond equality and into preferential treatment.

    July 20, 2012 at 11:45 am | Reply
    • vicki

      it was pretty preferential the other way for years too ! i agree there shouldnt be double standards for any reason.
      but I wish more people would live and let live .... we are all different and will NEVER agree on eash others agendas ,,, but the HATE must stop. to each their own

      July 20, 2012 at 12:08 pm | Reply
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    How come Repulican's hate gay people?

    July 20, 2012 at 10:21 am | Reply
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    July 20, 2012 at 9:21 am | Reply
    • chieftrainer

      Trying to figure out how you connected the military marching in a gay parade to Romney's taxes.

      July 20, 2012 at 10:15 am | Reply
      • Hahahahahahahahaha

        Mitt might be gay? Hahahahahahahahaahaha

        July 20, 2012 at 10:20 am |

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