The military said they are investigating a photograph that shows a soldier allegedly raising a gay pride flag at a base in Afghanistan. The image has drawn praise from gay rights advocates and fierce criticism from opponents.
“We are aware of the photo of the gay pride flag being flown by U.S. service members and we are investigating,” a spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force told Fox News.
At this point, the ISAF cannot confirm where the flag was raised, the identity of the soldier, or the authenticity of the photograph.
The photograph first appeared last month on the wall of a Facebook group called, “Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook.”
A woman who identified herself as Nicole Jodice posted the images – along with a message praising her husband for raising the rainbow colored flag.
“Hubbie in Afghanistan raising a gay pride flag,” she wrote with a link back to her home page that contained additional images.
The images have outraged social conservatives like Tony Perkins, a veteran and president of the Family Research Council.
“There, in the dusty desert of war, an Army outpost saluted the colors of the homosexual lobby by flying a rainbow flag in place of Old Glory,” Perkins said. “These displays are an uncomfortable reminder of the open policy that few of the troops support.”
“It appears this flag is just one way the President is taking his hostility toward religious freedom to new heights,” Perkins said.
Perkins was especially upset because last November soldiers at Camp Marmal were ordered to tear down a Christian cross that marked the entrance to a base chapel. The military defended the removal because it was a “distinctly religious symbol.”
He also raised concerns about whether the raising of the flag posed a danger to soldiers in the aftermath of the Koran burning.
“Where is the concern now for angering Afghan Muslims who vehemently oppose homosexuality?” he aside. “The issue is as much an issue of military security as it is of religious morality. What price will we pay because some want to use the military to show their gay pride?”
Queerty.com brushed aside Perkins’ concerns calling him a “professional homophobe.”
“Apparently a rainbow flag is such a provocation that it excuses attacks on our troops, they wrote. “Or it could be a sign of the strength of our diversity and tolerance, principles we’re supposed to treasure.”
However, even some supporters of gays serving openly in the military have reservations about the rainbow flag being flown on a military base.
“Unless there was authorization from an appropriate source to raise this flag over the base, and such authorization was not in violation of military codes of conduct, I see this as an unacceptable flouting of the rules,” one reader wrote to Instinct Magazine. “This isn’t homophobic. It is, in fact, egalitarian.”