By Rex Wockner
Some 300 active-duty troops (the majority of the contingent) and veterans marched in San Diego’s LGBT Pride parade July 16.
As far as can be determined, it was a U.S. first.
It was a symbolic goodbye to “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which, while not quite dead-dead, is apparently dead enough.
The military gay ban has been struck down by a federal court and the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has refused to reinstate it – at least as far as active-duty troops are concerned – while the federal government plods through implementing Congress’ repeal of the policy.
Raucous cheering greeted the military contingent for the length of the parade route through the gay Hillcrest neighborhood.
Following a July 14 front-page story in the San Diego Union-Tribune, the crowd of 155,000 seemed aware that it was seeing history in the making.
The troops and veterans marched in groups broken down by military branch. The Navy and Marines groupings were much larger than the others, given that San Diego is home to Navy and Marine bases.
The contingent was organized by Sean Sala, who left the Navy in June after six years.
Video footage is available at tinyurl.com/wockner-sd. (The Associated Press estimated the size of the military contingent at 200, while Reuters said 250. The San Diego Union-Tribune said “more than 350.”)