Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla., and U.S. Rep. Randy Forbes, R-Va., criticized the Pentagon's decision to let service members wear their uniforms while marching in the parade -- the first time military personnel have been permitted to wear uniforms in a gay parade.
Forbes said the decision by a deputy assistant secretary of defense "was an outrageous and blatantly political determination issued solely to advance this administration's social agenda."
Inhofe demanded an explanation from Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. Inhofe, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said the decision to allow personnel to wear their uniforms in the parade violates a Department of Defense policy banning personnel from involvement "in a partisan political parade."
In a letter to Panetta, Inhofe requested "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."
Former sailor Sean Sala, a member of Servicemembers United Leadership Council and the organizer of the military contingent for the parade, issued a statement Wednesday reading, in part:
"Sen. Inhofe and his like-minded colleagues should spend some time actually meeting and talking with some of these gay troops and veterans instead of using their platform to try to bully the Pentagon into moving backwards."
The San Diego parade and festival, Sala said, "are in the same category of nonpartisan and nonpolitical community events as are many other events and parades in which service members are also allowed to participate in uniform."
Upward of four dozen military personnel wore uniforms in the parade through the heavily gay neighborhood of Hillcrest. Other military members marched with them, many wearing T-shirts identifying their branch of service.
More Nation & World Headlines
Zimbabwe will seek lion-killing dentistís extradition Women advance to final phase of Army Ranger School 7:05 p.m. Virginia may recall Confederate license plates 6:28 p.m. Al-Qaida captures leader of U.S.-backed Syrian rebels George McGovern revealed he had a secret child California cuts water use by 27 percent Pentagon OKs guns to protect stateside troops Blue moon? Celestial event comes with a catch
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.