As DOD Celebrates LGBT Pride Month, 'There Continues to Be Progress' on Transgenders in Military

By Susan Jones | June 7, 2016 | 8:37 AM EDT

(AP File Photo)

(CNSNews.com) - The U.S. Defense Department will host its fifth LGBT Pride Month ceremony on Wednesday in the Pentagon courtyard, a spokesman announced on Monday, but don't expect an announcement on transgenders in the military.

"There continues to be progress on that front, even in the last few days," Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook told reporters on Monday.

"There have been a range of -- I'm not going to get into private deliberations...but there have been -- the secretary challenged people within the department to work out issues resolving -- to try and resolve this issue.

"And there has been progress in terms of trying to consider how to move forward here and resolve this issue in the fashion that he first outlined several months ago.
And I can tell you that there have been significant conversations within the building on that front.

"And we expect the secretary, as he said recently, to be able to announce something soon."

"So you do expect resolution on this?" CNN's Barbara Starr asked Cook.

"Yes, absolutely," Cook replied.

The Pentagon held its first official gay pride event in 2012, a year-and-a-half after President Obama signed legislation repealing "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military.

Since then, Defense Secretary Ash Carter has opened all military occupations, including ground combat positions, to women; and last summer, Carter instructed a "working group" to study "the policy and readiness implications of welcoming transgender persons to serve openly."

At the time, in July 2015, Carter gave the working group six months to conduct its study, which apparently is still ongoing.

Carter said he directed the working group to "start with the presumption that transgender persons can serve openly without adverse impact on military effectiveness and readiness, unless and except where objective, practical impediments are identified."

In 2009, Barack Obama became the first president to host an LGBT Pride Month reception at the White House. Since Obama took office, the LGBT movement has won a number of key legal victories.

In 2013, the U.S. Supreme Court struck down the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act, and it extended the right to marry to same-sex couples in 2015.

Most recently, in May, the Obama administration declared that schools receiving federal money may not discriminate based on a student’s sex, including a student’s transgender status. The guidance says schools must treat a student’s "gender identity" as the student’s sex when it comes to using bathrooms and locker rooms.

Also See:
Air Force Secretary: ‘I’m Certain Transgenders Will Be Allowed to Serve in a More Open Way’