The United States military has reportedly launched an investigation of the rainbow-striped gay pride flag that flew over a US army base in Afghanistan.
Three pictures of the flag were posted on the Wipeout Homophobia Facebook page, and although the photos have not been verified as real or even recent, they have since provoked global debate.
A woman named Nicole Jodice posted the picture on the group’s Facebook wall on 24 March with a message that read: ‘Hubbie in Afghanistan raising a gay pride flag.’
The International Security Assistance Force told Fox News it is investigating the incident, but said they were unsure where in Afghanistan the flag was raised, who was raising it, and the photograph’s authenticity.
Jodice wrote in a follow up note the picture was not doctored, and thanked people for their support.
In the US military, each base adheres to the rules of the base commander but there is no policy in place that would prohibit an individual from flying the gay pride flag.
On her blog, MSNBC host and openly gay Rachel Maddow said it shows ‘the extraordinary progress on gay rights in the U.S. military in recent years’.
The Family Research Group, a religious conservative group, disagreed. President Tony Perkins has argued the pride flag presents a security risk to the troops.
He said: ‘Where is the concern now for angering Afghan Muslims, who vehemently oppose homosexuality? The issue is as much an issue of military security as it is of religious morality.’
In Afghanistan, homosexuality and cross-dressing are considered serious crimes and possible punishment includes the death penalty.