As we mentioned last week, the SF Pride board relented in the face of growing pressure from the city and held another public meeting Friday regarding their decision to retract the honorary appointment of Wikileaks leaker Bradley Manning to Pride Grand Marshal. The meeting was held at Metropolitan Community Church in the Castro, and as Castro Biscuit reports, the forum was attended by about 150 people, and was moderated by KQED's Scott Shafer.
More than 50 people took advantage of the opportunity to speak at the forum, including dozens of Manning supporters and the man who nominated Manning for Grand Marshall, Joey Cain. Of the speakers, only three spoke in support of the board's decision to disinvite manning, including one Log Cabin Republican, and GOPTranny blogger Katherine Kline. Supervisor David Campos surprised some by voicing his support of Manning, and insisting the Pride board find some way of honoring him in the face of this community response. The board agreed to make a decision on that by June 7.
Also, vocal members of the progressive community subsequently took advantage of Pride board secretary Lou Fischer's call for people to become members of the SF Pride organization and take part in the next vote for board members. Anyone interested is encouraged to write a letter like this one, and your ability to vote begins 60 days after acceptance of your application.
Meanwhile, across the country at Fort Meade, Maryland, Manning himself began his first day of court-martial today. He has pleaded guilty to ten charges of misconduct based on his leaking of military files, and waived his right to a jury trial. However the government is seeking a conviction based on a more extreme set of charges, including violation of the Espionage Act, and the military court trial is expected to last twelve weeks. As the NYT reports, Manning's defense attorney argued that Manning was "young, naïve, but good-intentioned" in his actions, and that he had tried to select documents to leak so as not to put fellow soldiers in harms way. "He was selective," the attorney said, "And he released these documents because he was hoping to make the world a better place."