Critics Take Aim at Pentagon Decision to Permit Military Uniforms at San Diego LGBT Pride
For the first time since the end of ’’Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’’ active-duty servicemembers were granted permission to march in full uniform in an LGBT pride parade - specifically, San Diego’s on July 21.
In a memo sent to all branches of the U.S. military before the parade, the Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense gave the go-ahead provided soldiers ’’ensure the adherence to Military Service standards of appearance and wear of the uniform’’ and participate in their personal capacity. The memo further stipulated that this grant of permission would apply only to the San Diego Pride Parade.
A military contingent in the parade was a historic event that garnered national media attention, particularly when a Navy officer dropped to one knee during the parade and proposed to his boyfriend. But the decision also attracted criticism from some Republicans on Capitol Hill.
Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Inhofe criticized the Pentagon’s decision as opening the floodgates for politics and partisanship in the military.
In a letter sent to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Inhofe questioned whether the decision violated military policy, in particular a rule that forbids servicemembers from marching or riding in a ’’partisan political parade.’’
’’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 DOD should maintain the same standard and preclude service members in uniform from marching in a gay pride parade,’’ Inhofe wrote.
Inhofe was joined in his criticism by Virginia Republican Rep. Randy Forbes, who called the decision ’’outrageous and blatantly political determination issued solely to advance this administration’s social agenda."
’’This is yet another violation in what has become a pattern of this administration’s assault on the longstanding history of the Department of Defense as a nonpolitical organization,’’ Forbes said.