Fire alarm in San Diego: ADF-allied attorney argues for firefighters on appeal

Despite favorable verdict given to firefighters, city continues to argue it was okay to force them to participate in ‘Gay Pride’ Parade
Thursday, October 07, 2010

WHO: ADF-allied attorney Charles S. LiMandri and ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco
WHAT: Available for media interviews after appellate hearing in Ghiotto v. City of San Diego
WHEN: Friday, Oct. 8, immediately following oral argument, which begins at 9 a.m. PDT
WHERE: State of California Court of Appeal for the Fourth Appellate District, Division One, Symphony Towers, 750 B St., Suite 300, San Diego

SAN DIEGO — Alliance Defense Fund allied attorney Charles S. LiMandri and ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco will be available for media interviews following oral argument in a hearing in the city of San Diego’s appeal of a favorable jury verdict issued in February 2009. The jury found that four San Diego firefighters 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,” said LiMandri, the West Coast regional director of the Thomas More Law Center and one of more than 1,800 attorneys in the ADF alliance. “We are confident that this court will concur with the jury’s verdict, which recognized the firefighters’ right to opt out of activities that they consider morally offensive and that subject them to harassment.”

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.

“Advocates of homosexual behavior want to disregard a jury that represents the voice of the community,” said Infranco, who is co-counsel in the case. “Instead of admitting its mistake, the city is relentlessly advancing an agenda that compels people to participate in sexually-charged events against their moral and personal convictions.”

Although the city changed its policy after the firefighters filed suit against the city with the Superior Court for the County of San Diego in August 2007, the firefighters maintain that the city has stated it is allowed to revert to forced participation if volunteers are not available. The firefighters claim that forced participation in the parade, which was a highly political event, violated their right against compelled speech in addition to the harassment; therefore, they have appealed a ruling by the court that dismissed the claim that their speech rights were violated.
  • Fact sheet on the case
  • 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.