The Pentagon is looking into photographs of a soldier allegedly raising a gay pride rainbow flag at a base in Afghanistan.
Army Lt. Col. Jimmie E. Cummings Jr., a spokesman for NATO and U.S. forces in Afghanistan, told The Daily Caller that the military is trying to authenticate the photographs.
“I would not call it an ‘investigation,’ but we are looking to see … if the picture was taken somewhere here in Afghanistan or not,” Cummings told TheDC. “We have not been able to verify the photograph as of yet to determine who or where these pictures were taken.”
Cmdr. Bill Speaks, a Defense Department spokesman, told TheDC that there “is no DoD policy that would prohibit an individual service member from doing this,” but that there are different International Security Assistance Force policies specific to the Afghan theater.
Cummings, in Afghanistan, explained that each base adheres to the rules of the base commander.
“Procedures regulating flags that are displayed on a camp, base or military installation [are] set by each individual base commander,” Cummings noted.
It is still unknown where exactly the photo was taken, or even if it was taken in Afghanistan.
The photograph was first posted on the Facebook group Wipeout Homophobia on Facebook, and has been circulating around the Internet — receiving cheers from some members of the gay community and jeers from more conservative circles.
On her blog, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow called the photos part of “the extraordinary progress on gay rights in the U.S. military in recent years.”
The Family Research Council, on the other hand, suggested that the image could endanger American troops.
“Where is the concern now for angering Afghan Muslims, who vehemently oppose homosexuality?” the socially conservative organization said in a statement posted online.
“The issue is as much an issue of military security as it is of religious morality. After February’s accident with the Korans, American lives were lost. What price will we pay because some want to use the military to show their gay pride?”
In Afghanistan homosexuality is punished with long prison sentences, or even death.