For the past two years there has been a “military contingent” in the San Diego Pride Parade. This year, that contingent will be in uniform.
Marines and sailors with the I Marine Expeditionary Force, based in Camp Pendleton, California, have been officially authorized to wear their uniforms in the San Diego Pride Parade being held on July 13. The following statement was released by the I MEF public affairs office on Wednesday:
“I MEF is taking proactive measures to ensure commanders, Marines, and families receive accurate and timely information regarding the announcement authorizing Marines and sailors’ abilities to personally participate in the 2013 San Diego Pride Parade military contingent.
Diversity remains one of I MEF’s top priorities. We are proud of the diverse backgrounds, cultures, and versatile skills of our men and women and embrace their personal decision to participate in this community event honoring their service.
I MEF is committed to maintaining longstanding relationships with our San Diego and Southern California communities, including participation in events that recognize the courageous efforts of all Marines and sailors serving around the world and here at home.”
In 2012 the Secretary of Defense issued a memorandum granting service members the ability to wear approved uniforms in the San Diego Pride Parade. Current Department of Defense guidelines, however, grant discretion in this matter to local commanders. This marks the first time that a local command has authorized service members to wear uniforms in a Pride parade.