The gay pride parade in San Diego on Saturday was an historic one -- for what is believed to be the first time, active service members marched openly in such a parade. Some 200 active troops took part, proudly declaring their military status as well as their sexual identity.
The march came one day after a federal appeals court ordered the military to temporarily continue its "don't ask, don't tell" policy. However, the government cannot investigate or penalize anyone who is openly gay. The ban is expected to be completely lifted soon.
"This is one of the proudest days in my life. It's time for it (the policy) to be gone," National Guard member Nichole Herrera said, according to the Daily Mail. "I'm a soldier no matter what, regardless of my sexual orientation."
It was also a proud day for former Navy military police officer Miranda LeClair. She carried a sign that read, "Proudly served in silence for nine years." However during those nine years she was investigated under "don't ask, don't tell." She was not charged and left the Navy voluntarily last November.
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"It's been a long time coming," said LeClair. "This is really an emotional day for me."