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Now it's history: San Diego gay pride parade 2012

Marine reservist Sgt. James Dunn, 24, (left) shares a kiss with his partner Carson Pollington, a civilian, before Saturday's LGBT parade in San Diego.

When the history of the gay civil rights movement is written, there will be a reference to the 2012 LGBT parade in San Diego: the first time military members were permitted to wear their uniforms in a gay festival parade.

"This is a truly historic event," said retired Marine Col. Tim McDermott, 55, who served two combat tours in Iraq. McDermott was one of two retired colonels to march in Saturday's parade through San Diego's predominantly gay neighborhood of Hillcrest.

"America is finally willing to accept us as equals," said former Marine Sgt. Stephen Peters, 32, who said he is married to an active-duty Marine now deployed to Afghanistan.

Much of the discussion as marchers prepared to step off was about the effect of the repeal of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy and about the Department of Defense decision to allow marchers to wear their uniforms.

"The Navy has changed a lot and that's good," said Petty Officer Brandon Caldwell, 35, an aviation ordnance specialist who has deployed on three aircraft carriers.


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--Tony Perry in San Diego

Photo: Marine reservist Sgt. James Dunn, 24, (left) shares a kiss with his partner Carson Pollington, a civilian, before Saturday's LGBT parade in San Diego. Credit: Don Bartletti / Los Angeles Times

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