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Firefighters forced to participate in ‘Gay Pride Parade’ win heated legal battle

ADF-allied attorney receives favorable verdict on harassment charge against city of San Diego on behalf of firefighters
Published On: 10/18/2017

SAN DIEGO — An Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney representing four San Diego firefighters received a favorable jury verdict Tuesday in a lawsuit against the city.  The San Diego Fire Department disregarded the firefighters’ objections to taking part in the city’s “Gay Pride Parade” celebrating homosexual behavior and retaliated against them for later complaining about the harassment they endured during the event.

“Government employees should never be forced to participate in events or acts that violate their sincerely held beliefs,” said ADF-allied attorney Charles LiMandri, the West Coast Regional Director of the Thomas More Law Center.  “We are pleased with the jury’s verdict recognizing the firefighters’ right to abstain from activities that they consider morally offensive and that subject them to harassment.”

After being forced to participate--despite numerous objections--in 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.  The firefighters then suffered harassment and retaliation after complaining to superiors about the parade.  The city was well aware of the firefighters’ objection to participating in the parade because of its lascivious nature exhibited in past years, including unwanted sexual comments and gestures from participants and spectators.

“Many people may mistakenly think the ‘gay pride’ parade is merely a ‘fun’ event,” said ADF Senior Counsel Joe Infranco, who is co-counsel in the case.  “They never would have imagined the crude sexual harassment these firefighters were forced to endure.  But in truth, the goal of homosexual behavior advocates is to undermine society’s long-held values.  They continue to seek this, whether by demanding participation in ‘gay pride’ parades or by trampling the democratic process to redefine marriage.”

After the lawsuit Ghiotto v. City of San Diego was filed in the Superior Court for the County of San Diego, the fire department changed its policy so employees will no longer be forced to participate against their will.

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.

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