San Diego Firefighters Forced to Participate in Gay Pride Parade Sue City

August 8, 2007 ( - Four firefighters are suing the city of San Diego after being forced by superiors to participate in the annual "Gay Pride" parade, where they faced sexual taunts, lewd gestures, and hostility. reports that San Diego’s fire chief called the July 21 parade a “fun event” in which “all employees are encouraged to participate.” However, the firefighters claim that this year they were ordered to participate in the parade in uniform in their fire truck despite their repeated protests.

An attorney with the law firm representing the firefighters said the city should have known from past experience “the kind of offensive activities that go on at this event,” according to the news report. “This was a clear case of sexual harassment in violation of state and federal law as well as the City’s own code of conduct,” said attorney Charles LiMandri.

According to the claims, over the course of three hours, the firefighters were subjected to sexual taunts and lewd gestures, and when they did not respond they were subjected to hostile comments and gestures.

Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, who also represents the firefighters, argued the constitutional right to free speech also protects the right not to speak. “These men should not have to explain to their families, friends and church congregations that their presence at a celebration of lewdness and obscenity in support of the homosexual agenda was because they were forced there by way of a direct order,” Thompson said, according to