Pentagon extends protections to LGBT troops

Even the Pentagon is getting into the spirit of LGBT Pride Month.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced Tuesday that the Pentagon’s equal opportunity policy will, from now on, extend to protect the U.S. military’s gay and lesbian troops, USA Today reported. Under the extension, military officials will be required to investigate complaints of discrimination based on sexual orientation. 

While the era of “don’t ask, don’t tell” (DADT) ended in 2011, transgender troops can still be ousted from the military after a senior civilian official approves the discharge. Under DADT, gay and lesbian troops could be discharged from service if their sexual orientation became known.

Carter’s announcement marked the first time a defense secretary addressed the Pentagon’s annual Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Pride event.

WATCH: U.S. military still evolving on LGBT rights

Last week, two red states rejected legislation widely considered to discriminate against the LGBT community. Two such provisions died in the Texas legislature: One would have prohibited state and local funds from being used to license and/or recognize same-sex marriages; the other would have allowed adoption agencies to turn away prospective parents on religious grounds. In North Carolina, a measure failed that would have allowed government officials to recuse themselves from performing marriage ceremonies by citing their religious beliefs.

The U.S. Supreme Court, meanwhile, will soon decide whether the Constitution requires states to license and/or recognize same-sex nuptials. Presently, same-sex couples are able to wed in 36 states, the District of Columbia and parts of Missouri.

Marriage Equality

Pentagon extends protections to LGBT troops