ByÂ Rowan Scarborough-The Washington Times
Defense SecretaryÂ Leon E. PanettaÂ is not requiring commands and agencies to hold gay pride events this month, even as theÂ Pentagonprepares for its first celebration on Tuesday of gays serving openly in the ranks.
Mr. PanettaÂ issued a message to troops June 15 recognizing June as Gay Pride Month in the military, after President Obama officially recognized it weeks earlier.
Jeh Johnson, theÂ Defense Departmentâ€™s general counsel who spearheaded the drive inside theÂ PentagonÂ to repeal the policy against gays serving openly in the military, will be the keynote speaker at thePentagonÂ event, which will feature a panel discussion titled â€œThe Value ofÂ Open ServiceÂ and Diversity.â€
A spot-check of major commands – such asÂ Special Operations Command,Â Pacific CommandÂ andÂ Central CommandÂ – revealed that no special events or statements are scheduled. One spokesman said that does not mean an installation will not note the occasion with a statement or exhibit.
Other minorities celebrated
â€œIâ€™m not aware of any events planned at this point,â€ said aÂ Pacific CommandÂ spokeswoman.
Said ArmyÂ spokesmanÂ George Wright: â€œAside from the event at thePentagonÂ for [theÂ Department of Defense], Iâ€™m not aware of any organized activities here atÂ Army headquarters, nor at installations.â€
In the past, celebrations at theÂ PentagonÂ to recognize minorities have been mirrored by events at bases worldwide.
For example, during Hispanic American Heritage Month in 2001, thePentagonÂ issued a press release that said: â€œCelebrated from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, the observance features a variety of activities on and around military installations worldwide, including keynote speakers, panel discussions, exhibits, films, special menus in military dining facilities and a host of other activities.â€
During Back History Month in 2006, theÂ commandÂ in Afghanistan put on a special event at Bagram Air Base.
Mr. Panetta, who celebrated the end of the ban on service by open gays known as â€œdonâ€™t ask, donâ€™t tellâ€ in September, took repeal one step further June 15 by having the department embrace June as Gay Pride Month, as does the gay rights movement.
To read more, visit:Â http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/24/panetta-not-ordering-gay-pride-events/
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