Military First: Pentagon Salutes Gay Pride Month

Leon Panetta
Secretary of Defense the Honorable Leon Panetta addresses service members at Camp Lemonnier, Djibouti. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Marc I. Lane/Released)
The Pentagon is set to salute gay and lesbian troops by marking June as Gay Pride Month.

The move comes nine months after the Obama administration's repeal of the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy that banned gay troops from openly serving in the military.

"We are a nation that welcomes the service of every patriot ... a nation that believes that all men and women are created equal," President Obama said after the repeal.

Defense Department officials are planning the first-ever event to recognize gay troops.

They declined to give details about the event but said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta feels it's important to recognize the service of gays in the armed forces.

The move comes as legislation is being proposed in Congress to protect military chaplains who don't support gay marriage.

"The chaplains are an integral part of our defense and have been for a long time," Rep. Todd Akin, R-Mo., who sponsored the legislation, said. "And honoring the beliefs and the convictions of those people is only reasonable."

"We need to allow people to have those kinds of beliefs without being worried that they're going to get demoted or run over because they believe in something," he said


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