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Military brass to recognize Gay Pride month, salute gay and lesbian service

Alaska Dispatch

For the first time in United States history, military leaders will salute gay soldiers for their service on behalf of the nation.

As recently as this time last year, soldiers were forced to lie about their identity in order to comply with U.S. law under the Pentagon's "don't ask, don't tell" policy. President Obama certified DADT repeal last July and the law came off the books in September.

This month, the Pentagon will recognize the service of gay, lesbian and bisexual soldiers, just as it recognizes scores of other ethnic and cultural groups that together make up the modern, volunteer U.S. Armed Forces, notes the Associated Press.

No details have yet been made public about what's being planned, but Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said he thinks it important to salute the contribution gay and lesbian men and women make on behalf of the nation.

Gay pride is celebrated each year during the month of June to commemorate the 1969 Stonewall riots in New York City, when gay men and lesbians fought back against police persecution. The event is widely considered the first organized U.S. protest by gays and sparked the gay rights movement.

President Bill Clinton became the first U.S. president to officially recognize Gay & Lesbian Pride Month in June 2000. Read his proclamation here.