GOP Lawmakers Attack Pentagon For Allowing Uniformed Soldiers At Pride Parade

Most Republicans have given up the ghost on the issues of gays in the military, but two top GOP congressmen obviously think the economy, unemployment and implementing health-care reforms are of less importance than rehashing whether soldiers should have marched in uniform at the recent San Diego Pride parade.

In a letter to Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Rep. James Inhofe (R-OK) criticized the DOD’s decision to issue a one-time exception that allowing service members to wear their uniforms at the event:

“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 DOD should maintain the same standard and preclude service members in uniform from marching in a gay-pride parade.

I respectfully request a detailed explanation of the rationale you used to grant this ‘one-time waiver’ of DOD policy, who requested the waiver, why this waiver was considered justified over other requests, and whether you are considering other exceptions to current policy.”

Rep. Randy Forbes (R-VA) called on the Department of Defense to “halt these dangerous exceptions to policy for political purposes,” calling the waiver  “an outrageous and blatantly political determination issued solely to advance this Administration’s social agenda.”

Just to give you a little context, Inhofe is the guy who proudly boasted he’s never had a gay person in his family (and won’t hire any for his staff), and Forbes has tried to pass legislation declaring “the Holy Bible is God’s Word”

But setting that aside, do they have a point? Is a gay Pride parade a political event—something military personnel are banned from endorsing across the board? Or is it more of a cultural event, like a St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Is there such a thing as a non-political event any more?

March into the comments and weigh in.

Photo: San Diego Pride

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  • Beatnik

    Personally, I don’t see the motive for wearing uniforms in the parade as an expression of pride, I see it as a big middle finger intended for the U.S. armed forces. Would these same people walk into an OWS march wearing their uniforms? Methinks not, for fear of being skinned alive. Likewise, their appearance at a pride parade is all window dressing and no substance.

  • Army Chick

    I am glad somebody is taking a stand. I have no problem serving with gays, lesbians, etc, but I do have a problem when it was stated that no special treatment would be given, we are all the same. If I went to a political event today in my uniform, it would become national attention because one side would see it as a personal grudge. It is bs to allow one group to do something the others have not been allowed to do. It is sad to see how the public dictates what the government does.

  • Scribe37

    @Beatnik: I don’t see it as a political statement, but human rights issue. It shows that gays are everywhere, that we are proud of our country, that we protect our country and deserve the same rights as every other group in America.

  • ChrisC

    @Army Chick: This isn’t a political event, it’s not affiliated with any one political group, ideology or party. There are those who send representatives or donations, but it is not aligned with any one (or only one) in particular. It’s an event demanding equal rights, and celebrating our identities.

  • Nick

    I’ve personally known a gay Inhofe staffer!

  • Daez

    @Army Chick: While I thank you for your service, I disagree with your opinion. This is NOT a political event. Human rights issues are NOT political in nature.

    Also, this is tantamount to a soldier wearing his/her uniform to a church ceremony, or a funeral or a wedding. Being gay is a lot more of a part of who you are than religion is, and every time that a solder wears his/her uniform to religious ceremony of any kind, they are endorsing the religion.

    Lets try to pass a law to ban soldiers from wearing their uniforms to religious ceremonies based on the concept of separation of church and state.

  • Cam

    So them living their lives is a “Political Issue” is it?

    Funny, I don’t see these Congressmen complaining if soldiers wear their uniforms to church or to get married.

  • B

    No. 2 · Army Chick wrote, “I am glad somebody is taking a stand. I have no problem serving with gays, lesbians, etc, but I do have a problem when it was stated that no special treatment would be given, we are all the same.”

    What would happen if a group of soldiers wore their uniforms in a Saint Patrick’s Day parade? Oh, BTW, the gay pride parade in San Francisco included contingents from the police and fire departments, in uniform. Here’s a picture: . Why would the U.S. military be treated any differently?

  • Cam

    @Army Chick:

    You are a liar. This is no more political than you having a picture of a boyfriend on your desk.

    Then again, I get why you are overcompensating. I mean after all, a HUGE percentage of women in the military are lesbians so no wonder you are so desperate to stay in the closet. But then again, hanging out on a gay blog may not be the best way to do that.

  • Ruhlmann

    @Army Chick: “It is sad to see how the public dictates what the government does.”
    I always thought that that is how government was supposed to work.

  • s.b.

    the congressmen are probably right but that doesn’t matter if no one cares

  • Chuck

    I think Gay Pride is more of a human rights event, but I guess anything could be seen as political these days.

    That soldiers are wearing their uniforms to an event like this doesn’t push forth a political agenda I don’t think, at least not in the minds of rational people. They’re just being involved in a celebration of who they are, both military men and gay.

    Last I remembered, gay people could be either Repbulican or Democrat, conservative or liberal.

  • mrlbumiller

    @Army Chick: The difference was that many gay service members were requesting permission from their commands to participate in uniform as was advised by SDPride. SDPride gave links on how to request such permission by OutServe and Servicemen’s Legal Defense Network. Some commands gave authorization, some did not. I am sure questions were sent up to Pentagon and then the order was given by the Sec. of Defense. He also stated that is one time exception since the theme of SDPride was “America’s Pride”.

    From SDPride website: With the theme of America’s Pride, San Diego Pride is looking to continue to break exciting new ground and push forward on issues of equality. Honoring our service members, veterans, and their families is an important part of this message.

    It is in part of this message that the organizers SDPride were striving for, that SOD gave his order.

    Also “Army Chick” you really need to be careful what you are saying. If you are truly AD Army, what you said could be construed as disrespect, and chargeable under UCMJ. The Sec of Defense is part of your change of command, if you disagree do it as a Chick not an Army Chick.

  • Mike

    @Army Chick – While you have a right to your opinion, a gay pride parade is not a political event, and your statement “It is sad to see how the public dictates what the government does,” is a truly terrible choice of words. Which Constitution have you sworn to upholding?

  • freddie

    It’s Senator Inhofe, not Representative.

  • labman57

    Rather than having his fingers on the pulse of the nation, focusing on the issues that are of greatest concern to most Americans, social conservatives and tea party brown-nosers such as Inhofe have their fingers on the pulse of their own nether regions.


    @freddie: Inhofe, shmokoff he is a bloody republican and should not exist like all ” WHITE CHRISTIAN REPUBLICAN”.

Comments are closed.