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Service Members Can March In Uniform At Pride Parade, Pentagon Says

In this July 16, 2011 photo, two women, both active duty sailors in the Navy who gave their names as Nikki, left, and Lisa, kiss as they march in the Gay Pride Parade in San Diego.
Gregory Bull

The AP is reporting that for the first time in United States history, the Department of Defense is allowing its members to march in uniform at a gay pride parade.

The Pentagon issued a statement today, saying it was making an exception for San Diego's Gay Pride Parade on Saturday. Normally, the Pentagon doesn't allow troops to march in parades in uniform.

Rene Bardorf, a DoD spokeswoman sent a statement to LGBT Weekly. She said:

"It is our understanding that event organizers plan to have a portion of the parade that is dedicated to military members ... we further understand organizers are encouraging service members to seek their commanders approval to march in uniform and to display their pride. Based on our current knowledge of the event and current policies, 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 uniform."

The exception only applies to this parade.

The AP reports that San Diego's LGBT Pride Executive Director Dwayne Crenshaw called the move a "a giant leap" in the direction of equality.

Last month, the Pentagon held its first-ever event to recognize gay troops. It was about a year ago that the government's repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was formally certified by the president.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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