In a memorandum sent to all its branches, the department said it was making the allowance for San Diego's Gay Pride 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. The move came only weeks after the Pentagon joined the rest of the U. 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. Last year, San Diego's Gay Pride Parade had the nation's largest contingency of active-duty troops participate before the military lifted its ban on openly gay service members.
LGBTQ Veterans' Issues
LGBTQ Veterans' Issues | Justia
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Michigan AG to appeal court ruling that companies can refuse service to gay customers
Defense officials say they are just weeks away from completing the training of forces in advance of the end of the gay ban. Under a law passed late last year, 60 days after top defense officials certify that military readiness won't be affected, the don't-ask law will be repealed. David Lapan, the Pentagon spokesman, said the department is studying the ruling by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.
The United States military formerly excluded gay men , bisexuals , and lesbians from service. In , the United States Congress passed, and President William "Bill" Clinton signed a law instituting the policy commonly referred to as " Don't ask, don't tell " DADT which allowed gay, lesbian, and bisexual people to serve as long as they did not reveal their sexual orientation. Although there were isolated instances in which service personnel were met with limited success through lawsuits, efforts to end the ban on openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual people serving either legislatively, or through the courts initially proved unsuccessful. In , two federal courts ruled the ban on openly gay, lesbian, and bisexual service personnel unconstitutional, and on July 6, , a federal appeals court suspended the DADT policy. In December , the House and Senate passed and President Barack Obama signed the Don't Ask, Don't Tell Repeal Act of , and under its provisions, restrictions on service by gay, lesbian, and bisexual personnel ended as of September 20,