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Gay military personnel can wear uniforms in parade, Pentagon says

Saturday's parade through San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood is the city's first gay pride parade since the repeal of the 'don't ask, don't tell' policy that prohibited gay military personnel from serving openly.

July 19, 2012|By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times
  • Navy personnel march in last year's Gay Pride Parade in San Diego.
Navy personnel march in last year's Gay Pride Parade in San Diego. (Gregory Bull / Associated…)

SAN DIEGO — Gay military personnel can wear their uniforms in San Diego's LGBT Pride Festival and parade, the Pentagon said Thursday.

An announcement from the office of the deputy assistant secretary of Defense said that wearing their uniforms is permitted "provided service members participate in their personal capacity and ensure the adherence to military service standards of appearance and wear of the military uniform."

The decision marks the first time that gay personnel will be allowed to wear their uniforms in a gay parade.

Saturday's parade through San Diego's Hillcrest neighborhood is the city's first lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender pride parade since the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that prohibited gay military personnel from serving openly.

Last year, upward of 200 active-duty and retired military personnel marched in the parade. Many wore T-shirts with the name of their branch of service.

Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of San Diego Pride, said the Pentagon's decision "is a giant leap in the right direction" toward full equality for gays and lesbians in the military.

Military regulations bar personnel from wearing their uniforms in any way that will "bring discredit" to the armed services or that appears to take sides in a political issue.

The announcement ensures that all military personnel are covered by the same policy. Before the announcement, the decision was being made by individual commands.

tony.perry@latimes.com

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