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GOP challenges DOD on uniformed military’s march in San Diego Pride parade

Congressional Republicans are calling upon Defense Secretary Leon Panetta to provide explanation on why the Department of Defense (DOD) allowed uniformed military personnel to march in last weekend’s San Diego Pride parade.

Jim Inhofe (R-Ok.) referenced a department rule Tuesday that prohibits active service members from participating in political activities in uniform and referred to Panetta to provide explanation why a waiver was granted, including who requested it, and why it was granted for the San Diego Pride parade only in face of other denied request.

“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 the Defense Department should maintain the same standard and preclude service members in uniform from marching in a gay pride parade,” Inhofe wrote.

The Seattle Times wrote:

Inhofe said he was concerned that the Obama administration “continues to force its liberal social agenda on the military by promoting the homosexual agenda, mandating the use of high-cost green energy initiatives, pursuing abortion rights and suppressing the free exercise of religious liberties.”

On Saturday, dozens of soldiers, sailors and Marines in uniform marched alongside an old Army truck with a “Freedom to Serve” banner and a rainbow flag. Dozens of military personnel in civilian clothes joined them.

The Pentagon had advised all its branches that it was making an exception for the San Diego parade even though its policy prohibits service members from marching in uniform in political parades. The department said it made the exception because organizers had encouraged military personnel to march in their uniform and the event was getting national attention.

The military waiver was specifically valid for San Diego’s Pride parade. No other Pride parades throughout the nation were granted the same rights.

The waiver only applied to this year’s parade in San Diego.

Many other Republican officials are calling on Panetta to explain the allowance.

“I am calling on the Defense Department to halt these dangerous exceptions to policy for political purposes,” said Rep. J. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) “This decision was an outrageous and blatantly political determination issued solely to advance this administration’s social agenda.”

Panetta has not yet released an official statement on the matter.

Stay tuned to San Diego LGBT Weekly for more information as this story develops.


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Posted by on Jul 25, 2012. Filed under Breaking News, Top Highlights. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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