“Based on our current knowledge of the event and existing policies, we hereby are granting approval for service members in uniform to participate in this year’s parade, 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 directive states, according to NBC San Diego.
The Pentagon said the exception applies only to Saturday’s parade, the Associated Press says, writing that it was granted “because organizers had encouraged military personnel to march in their uniform and the event was getting national attention.”
Organizers saluted the historic act.
“San Diego Pride is honored to have the privilege of celebrating our country and our service members with dignity and respect,” said Dwayne Crenshaw, executive director of San Diego LGBT Pride. “The fight for equality is not over and it is not easy, but this is a giant leap in the right direction.”
Although the Pentagon made the announcement today, San Diego LGBT Pride issued a news release last Thursday stating that “active duty servicemembers have received approval from the Office of the Secretary of Defense and their commanding officers to march in the America’s Pride Parade Military Contingent while wearing their uniforms.”
Last year, active-duty personnel sported service-branch T-shirts while marching, another first, which came in the wake of the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”