Imprisoned Army intelligence specialist and WikiLeaks secret-spiller Bradley Manning won't be an honorary grand marshal for this year's San Francisco gay pride celebration parade.
Lisa Williams, president of the SF Pride Board, said Saturday that an organization employee had erroneously notified Manning he'd been selected, reports CBS News
. About a dozen celebrities, politicians and organizations are picked every year for their contributions to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities, but Manning wasn't one of them.
Manning, who is openly gay, had been picked by a committee of former grand marshals, but the Pride Board decided against his nomination.
"In point of fact, less than 15 people actually cast votes for Bradley Manning," Williams said. "However, as an organization with a responsibility to serve the broader community, SF Pride repudiates this vote."
The honorary grand marshals typically wave from convertibles while riding through the San Francisco gay pride parade. However, Manning is in custody in a military prison in Kansas awaiting court-marshal and would not have been able to attend this year's parade, planned for June 30.
Daniel Ellsberg, a former military analyst who leaked Vietnam War information that became the Pentagon Papers in 1971, had agreed to ride on Manning's behalf.
“I and many other LGBT Manning supporters are deeply disappointed by this sudden change in position on the part of the committee, said Rainey Reitman, a member of the Bradley Manning Support Group. “Bradley is a gay American hero who sacrificed a great deal so we could learn the truth about our government, and he was fairly elected to serve as grand marshal in the parade."
She said Manning supporters will still march in the parade, as they have in the past. However, other activists said they did not think Manning should be celebrated.
"Manning's blatant disregard for the safety of our service members and the security of our nation should not be praised," said Stephen Peters, president of American Military Partners Association, which advocates for same-sex military families. The group had called on the Pride Committee to rescind the invitation.
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