Defense & National Security

Gay pride celebration at the Pentagon

Gay pride celebration at the Pentagon

It’s been about eight months since the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on gay troops serving openly came to an end, after a firestorm of debate that had even the different military service chiefs taking opposing sides.

Now, the AP reports that the Pentagon will take the month of June to celebrate gay pride.

“Details are still being worked out, but officials say Defense Secretary Leon Panetta wants to honor the contributions of gay service members.

…This month’s event will follow a long tradition at the Pentagon of recognizing diversity in America’s armed forces. Hallway displays and activities, for example, have marked Black History Month and Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.”

The transition into a post-repeal military has been relatively smooth, but this move will no doubt ruffle some feathers, perhaps especially with the chaplains of the services, who, as Human Events has reported, say that they’ve faced professional pressures to be quiet about beliefs that run counter to the new policy.

The AP has more:

“Though chaplains on bases in some states are allowed to hold what the Pentagon officials call “private services” — they don’t use the words wedding or marriage — such unions do not garner marriage benefits because the Defense of Marriage Act says marriage is between a man and a woman.”

The House version of the National Defense Authorization Act for 2013 would do away with the services altogether at military chapels–a major point of protest for chaplains.

According to a study by the military gay advocacy group OutServe that was published at the time of the repeal, about 30 percent of gay troops surveyed said they didn’t plan to “come out” to their unit even after Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was off the books.

Last August, a D.C. director of OutServe, Jonathan Hopkins, told me gay troops weren’t looking to celebrate their lifestyle in advocating repeal.

“I think people are going to do their job,” he said. “Fundamentally, people are fighting for the right to do their job. That’s how you celebrate repeal, is you do your job. It’s much ado about nothing as regards to any changes are happening in the service, but it’s a good nothing.”

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta apparently wants a bit more ado.

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