DutchAmsterdam.nl — Dutch soldiers are once again allowed to wear their military uniforms while participating in Amsterdam’s Gay Pride canal parade, Deputy Defense Minister Jack de Vries has announced.
As long as they ‘behave correctly’ no sanctions will follow, according to a statement by the Defense Deparment.
The deparment emphasizes that it will not officially take part in the parade by sponsoring a boat.
“We do not think that the Gay Pride parade contributes to a more positive image of people with a different sexual orientation,” De Vries explained. “Likewise we do not think it adds to the growing acceptation of this group within the Defense Department.”
Last year De Vries barred military personnel from wearing their uniforms during the parade. At the time parliament urged the ministry to be more lenient in future.
Ronald Plasterk, who as Minister of Education, Culture and Science deals with issues of gender equality, encouraged homosexual members of the military to participate. Last year Plasterk was one of several Dutch cabinet ministers who took part in the popular boat parade.
A record 80 boats joined the Gay Pride canal parade. Participants included Amsterdam mayor Job Cohen, city police and members of several political parties. Boats sponsored by several big name companies, such as ING, YouTube, TNT and Absolut Vodka, also took part.
About half a million Amsterdam locals and tourists lined the canals and bridges for the four-hour parade.
Amsterdam Gay Pride 2009 will take place from July 26st through August 2nd, with the canal parade on Saturday, August 1st.
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