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GOP Lawmaker Questions Gay Pride Parade Waiver

The Pentagon gave service members explicit permission to march in uniform in San Diego's Gay Pride Parade last week. But Republic Sen. Jim Inhofe of Oklahoma has sent a letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, questioning the legality of the Defense Department's approval.

In his letter, Inofe wrote that Department of Defense regulations prohibit service members from marching in "partisan political parades."

“These directives and regulations are unambiguous and straight forward with the intent of preserving the military’s apolitical stance. 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."

Inofe called for Panetta to provide him with a detailed explanation of why the Pentagon provided marchers with a one-time waiver to participate in San Diego's Pride Parade in uniform.

The San Diego Pride Parade, which took place July 21, was the first time members of the U.S. military were allowed to march in a Pride parade in uniform.

Navy Lt. Brian McKinney, who marched in the parade wearing his uniform, told the A.P.:

"It's about putting on my uniform and taking pride in my service, my fellow service members, my family and myself. It's something I'm incredibly thankful for."

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