(WNS) -- Congressional Republicans are challenging the U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) to explain a recent decision to let military personnel march in uniform in a San Diego gay pride parade.
In late July, the DoD said it granted service members in San Diego a “one-time waiver” from the policy that prohibits all military personnel from wearing their uniforms in political events because parade organizers were encouraging troops to participate, and because the event was generating national attention.
Col. Ron Crews, executive director of the Chaplain Alliance for Religious Liberty, said, “The Department of Defense continues to use our armed forces to promote a social agenda,” he said. “Our armed forces were not created to promote agendas. They were created to protect and defend this nation, which they have done so well since our founding.”
In a letter sent to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta July 24, Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) quoted the 2005 DoD directive that states service members “‘shall not march or ride in a partisan parade.’“
Inhofe, a senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also requested a detailed explanation of Panetta’s rationale. He also asked for the names of those who requested the waiver, an explanation of why it was considered justified over other requests, and whether Panetta is considering further exceptions to current policy.
Crews said this one-time waiver is a not just an “exception,” it’s a “violation” of policy. The DoD’s decision, he added, leads him to wonder what else the department may do in the future.
“The DoD has already been promoting this agenda by allowing same-sex couples to have commitment ceremonies and marriage-like ceremonies on military installations, even in a state like Louisiana where there is a clear definition of marriage — one man, one woman,” he said. “What’s the next step?”
In the letter, Inhofe points out that the DoD has previously used its current policy to punish troops who have participated in political events in uniform.
“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,” he wrote.
With the backing of Congress, the administration reversed the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy barring U.S. homosexuals from serving openly in the military since the mid-1990s. The reversal took effect last September.
c. 2012 WORLD News Service. Used with permission.
Publication date: July 27, 2012