IN LATE APRIL, the San Francisco Pride Board of Directors, planners of the city’s annual GLBT Pride parade held in June, announced the names of the grand marshals for San Francisco’s 2013 Pride parade. Among them was Army Private First Class Bradley Manning, a gay soldier who has confessed to releasing some 700,000 classified government documents to WiKiLeaks in 2010 and is awaiting court-martial in prison. Manning was to serve in absentia as one of several marshals.
Two days after the announcement—and following some outraged reaction from GLBT retired and active military personnel and their advocacy organizations, who demanded that the decision be rescinded—SF Pride’s president Lisa Williams issued a statement that called Manning’s nomination “a mistake and should never had been allowed to happen.” Incredibly, Williams blamed a rogue employee for Manning’s nomination, selection, and announcement as a grand marshal. She went on to say in her statement: “even the hint of support for actions which placed in harm’s way the lives of our men and women in uniform—and countless others, military and civilian alike—will not be tolerated by the leadership of San Francisco Pride.”