Blazing fast ruling in favor of San Diego firefighters
SAN DIEGO — Less than a week after hearing oral argument, a California appellate court has upheld a jury verdict which found that four San Diego firefighters represented by an Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney should not have been forced to participate in the city’s “Gay Pride Parade.” The San Diego Fire Department had disregarded the firefighters’ numerous objections to taking part in the city-sponsored parade celebrating homosexual behavior.
“Government employees should never be forced to participate in events or acts that violate their sincerely held beliefs. The jury saw this, and the court wisely upheld that ruling,” said Charles S. LiMandri, the West Coast regional director of the Thomas More Law Center and one of more than 1,800 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “The jury’s verdict recognized the firefighters’ right to opt out of activities that they consider morally offensive and that subject them to harassment.”
“We hope this ruling will end the city’s attempts to defend its act of compelling people to participate in sexually-charged events against their moral and personal convictions,” said ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco, who is co-counsel in the case. “If not, we are prepared to continue to defend the firefighters all the way to the California Supreme Court.”
During San Diego’s 2007 “Gay Pride Parade,” four firefighters from the SDFD were sexually harassed through lewd cat calls and obscene gestures at the event, which was replete with sexual displays and graphic images.
In its ruling issued Thursday in Ghiotto v. City of San Diego, the California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division One, concluded “that the record contains substantial evidence to support a finding that the sexual harassment experienced by the Firefighters during the Pride Parade was severe and pervasive, thus altering the conditions of employment and creating a hostile or abusive work environment.”
- Pronunciation guide: LiMandri (luh-MAN’-dree), Infranco (in-FRANK’-oh), Ghiotto (GEE’-oh-tow)
ADF is a legal alliance of Christian attorneys and like-minded organizations defending the right of people to freely live out their faith. Launched in 1994, ADF employs a unique combination of strategy, training, funding, and litigation to protect and preserve religious liberty, the sanctity of life, marriage, and the family.