The Department of Defense has given its permission to all branches of the military to wear their uniforms while marching in a San Diego gay pride parade this weekend.
In a letter sent by Rene Bardorf, deputy assistant secretary of Defense, the Pentagon officially blessed the idea. "We hereby are granting approval for service members in uniform to participate in this year's parade," Bardorf wrote. There are two conditions — marchers are participating in their "personal capacity" and always follow the military's standards for appearance and behavior while in uniform. The ruling also only applies to this year's march in San Diego.
"Today is a great day of Pride! San Diego Pride is honored to have the privilege of celebrating our country and our servicemembers with dignity and respect," said San Diego LGBT Pride executive director Dwayne Crenshaw. “The fight for equality is not over and it is not easy, but this is a giant leap in the right direction.”
Even before "don't ask, don't tell" had been officially cleared from law, about 200 active-duty troops and veterans marched in San Diego's gay pride parade in 2011. This year, organizers say they have about 400 people signed up to participate.
See photos from last year's march.