Monday, July 23, 2012

Troops Get to March in Gay Pride Parade in Uniform – A Story That Will Have Homophobes Infuriated

A Little Bit of Joy in This Tawdry and Dismal Election Season

[Editor’s note:  Due to the many columns supporting anti-discrimination there have been letters wanting to know if The Dismal Political Economist is gay or lesbian, as though only gay and lesbian folks could support equality before the law.  Not that it is relevant, but he is not, he just has the old fashioned, deeply held American belief that all men and women are created equal.  He read that somewhere, can't remember exactly where.]

The code of conduct for U. S. service personnel is that apparently they can march in any parade in civilian clothes, but if they march while wearing the uniform of the country they serve they can only do so under certain conditions.  So the Defense Department has done themselves proud by allowing soldiers to march in a Gay Pride Parade in San Diego while proudly wearing their uniforms.

This year for the first time ever, U.S. service members will be able to march in a gay pride event decked out in uniform.

In a memorandum sent to all its branches, the Defense Department said it was making the allowance for the San Diego parade on Saturday — even though its policy generally bars troops from marching in uniform in parades.

The Defense Department said it did so because organizers had encouraged military personnel to march in their uniform and the event was getting national attention.

In fact, now that the odious “Don’t ask – Don’t tell” law has been repealed it seems like DOD is making the extra effort to fight discrimination and provide equal treatment for all men and women in the armed forces.

Thursday's move came only weeks after the Pentagon joined the rest of the U.S. government for the first time in marking June as gay pride month and made an official salute to gay and lesbian service members.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta vowed in a video message to remove as many barriers as possible to making the military a model of equal opportunity and said gays and lesbians can be proud in uniform with the repeal last year of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law.

For those worried that this represents political intervention by the Defense Department, the answer is no, it does not.

The Defense Department said in its message to the service members that they should adhere to policy regarding behavior while wearing their uniforms.

Service members in uniform cannot appear to endorse or selectively benefit groups or individuals, provide a platform for a political message, or appear to be commercially sponsored. They also must ensure their presence in uniform is not intended to increase sales and business traffic.

It does, however, represent “decency intervention”, which is a nice thing.  Mitt Romney has apparently not commented on any of this, but if he did he would probably say something like this to be on both sides of the issue.

“I don’t agree with this, but I am not willing to say I would have stopped it, but that doesn’t mean I would not have stopped it”

Yep, that is what he would have said all right.

1 comment:

  1. Well, it is nice to know, even the TDPE is assumed to be gay because you support basic human equality. Speaking as your gayest fan, welcome to the stupidity that is this country in the 21st century. But, many thanks for consistently being on the right side of history!