Troops to march in San Diego's gay pride parade

By JULIE WATSON | July 15, 2011 | 1:59 PM EDT

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A former Navy operations specialist is organizing what is believed to be the nation's first military contingent of active-duty troops and veterans to lead a gay pride parade.

Sean Sala says the group will march Saturday in San Diego's parade, the nation's fifth largest.

The national Servicemembers Legal Defense Network said they told Sala they are warning military personnel that it is a risk to come out as long as "don't ask, don't tell" is on the books. The group represents thousands of gay and lesbian active-duty military members.

Sala says it's time for the gay and lesbian community to stop hiding in fear.

The Pentagon says no one will be discharged, for now, under the 17-year ban on openly gay troops to comply with a July 6 court order.