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And Now This Message from your Local Fire Department – You’re Gunna Burn

Timothy Kincaid

August 7th, 2007

The City of San Diego, like most major metropolitan cities, sends a presence from its civic institutions to the various cultural events that occur throughout the city’s diverse communities.  Cities have long known that this builds goodwill and trust and helps with overall crime prevention and city management.

One such cultural event is the annual gay pride parade, in which the San Diego Fire Department has participated for the past 15 years.  Generally these events are enjoyed by the fire crew involved and is staffed by volunteer basis.  This was also the case this year until the crew backed out on the last day due to a family death.

Rather than cancel their participation, the department directed the local unit located in Hillcrest to drive the truck in the parade. 

“At the last minute the crew in that community was asked to step up and represent our agency in the parade,” [Fire department spokesman Maurice Luque] said. “We have a responsibility and we take it seriously to participate in these parades.”

This did not sit well with the firemen so ordered and they are now threatening a lawsuit.  They claim that they were subjected to catcalls and that they were heckled when they refused to be friendly or respond to the crowd.  While harassment is the purported reason for the objections of the fire crew, anti-gay bias seems to be the more evident cause reflected in comments by engineer Jason Hewitt:

“I was forced into a situation that would compromise what I hold true and what I believe in”

Those unfamiliar with the beautiful city of San Diego may not know that Hillcrest is “the gay part of town”.  It’s similar to West Hollywood or to Greenwich Village or Chicago’s Boystown.  Any firefighters working out of that station would have to assume that a great many of the citizens they serve and with whom they need to maintain relations are gay and lesbian.

But their attorney, Richard Thompson, president and chief counsel of the Thomas More Law Center (an extremist anti-gay law group), described the event as “celebration of lewdness and obscenity in support of the homosexual agenda” and full of “debauchery“.  They even (gasp) had to see “men hugging and kissing one another passionately”.

The message sent to the gay citizens of the Hillcrest district is clear: your local firefighters, those who will be called upon to save your life and property, despise you and think you are lewd, debased, and obscene.  They consider your quest for liberty and equality to be “an agenda” and they consider waving at you to be beneath them.  They want nothing to do with the local inhabitants and consider it a compromise to what they hold true to drive a fire truck in your midst.

This stunt by these fire fighters and their gadfly counsel has seriously harmed the relationship between the fire department and the residents of Hillcrest and indeed all of the gay and gay supportive citizens of the city.  Frankly, if I lived there I would not be sure that a call for help would result in a reasonable response and I certainly would not expect any acts of bravery from fire fighters who think I belong in the flames of Hell.

UPDATE:  as it turns out the fire crew would not have been able to avoid the parade in any case.  The fire house is directly on the parade route.

The Union-Tribune has a copy of the EEO complaint made by the firemen.  It seems they felt they needed a “crisis intervention team” to deal with their offended sensibilities.  It is also quite clear that contrary to the claims of their counsel, none of their objections arose from the events of the parade but rather because they were required to participate at all.  The “offense” was not based on the behavior of the citizens but because they had to go to a gay event. 

“I asked Captain Ghiotto if he expressed my concerns to him and he stated I told him how we all felt and that Chief Pollard knows that afterwards that we are all going to write paper on this issue”.

The complaint is worth reading.  It’s a montage of homophobia, gay panic, and assumed privelege.  It’s clear to me that the complaining individuals believe they should not have to be subjected to the existence of gay persons – even in Hillcrest.  The most obvious or innocuous of calls (“Hey, Honey”, or “look at the big firemen”) were viewed as insults, affronts, or harassment.  And when they were blatantly rude to those watching the parade, they still felt entitled to deference from them.

Each of them were “offended” by the anti-gay protesters.  Not because the protesters were angry, accusatory, or offensive in their treatment of gay people but rather because the firemen weren’t gay and therefore didn’t deserve to be lectured.

Had they been friendly or waved at the people who pay their salary, they might have had a different experience.  Few citizens respond well to hostility and arrogance from city employees. 

Having read their complaints, that final sliver of sympathy I felt for them has now melted away.

Comments

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Robguy
August 7th, 2007 | LINK

I’m trying to be sensitive to the firefighters, but I’m having a hard time. I’ve been to several parades and I’ve never seen a situation where the float riders were subject to anything more threatening than cheers.

If the firefighters felt harassed and were subsequently sent back to the parade then I might see how management was not providing a “safe” work environment, but it was a one time thing. (and seriously, you run into burning buildings for a living yet a gayboy bouncing up and down and waving at you is threatening?)

I’ve heard that some of their coworkers teased them – depending on the extent, they may have a beef with their HR department. But in the final analysis, they’ve seriously damaged community relations and I think it would be reasonable to “fire” the jerks.

cowboy
August 7th, 2007 | LINK

Oh those poor Hillcrest firemen. Their comrades in other fire stations already think they’re gay. When all the San Diego firemen meet or socialize at some fireman fund raiser you have to know there are other firemen who point and say: “There goes a Hillcrest fireman.” (wink wink nudge nudge)

And let’s not forget they have to endure all those “hoses” jokes.

Gay Orbit » San Diego Firefighters Forced to Be Around Gay People, Cont.
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

[...] to me like they had their “complaint” planned in advance, no? As Timothy notes at BoxTurtleBulletin: Having read their complaints, that final sliver of sympathy I felt for them has now melted [...]

North Dallas Thirty
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

I think this is the best example:

Had they been friendly or waved at the people who pay their salary, they might have had a different experience. Few citizens respond well to hostility and arrogance from city employees.

So firemen are supposed to put up with sexual taunts and lewd comments from people because said people “pay their salaries”?

If someone makes lewd comments about the fire chief, she’s supposed to smile, be nice to them, play along, and not file a complaint or exercise her legal rights because that person is a taxpayer?

If a gay man working at a city office is taunted and harassed by people for refusing to go along with their sexual comments, he is at fault, because he should just be friendly and do whatever they want — and he should be fired for damaging “community relationships”?

Public employees are not your sex toys, Timothy Kincaid, and the fact that gays like you think they should be forced to tolerate your lewd comments and gestures because you “pay their salaries” is flat-out, blatant hypocrisy.

Michael Airhart
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

I am aghast that a city could require public workers to participate in a political event. Pride is inherently and unavoidably political because it is an explicit affirmation of same-gender sexuality and of liberal sexual and religious values. Government entities have no business ordering workers to support specific political causes.

I am further dismayed that public workers were required to endure entirely-predictable sexual harassment in the performance of their assigned duties.

Sorry, folks, it’s not fair to cherry-pick who qualifies for protection under sexual-harassment laws. I am dismayed that Box Turtle Bulletin would affirm a mandate to experience sexual harassment. Perhaps you do believe in special rights, after all?

I have little doubt that most of the firemen are capable of performing their duties equitably in Hillcrest when true emergencies arise. When they’re not being sexually harassed and made to support opposing political viewpoints, that is.

Actosrep
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

North Dallas Thirty
I wonder- if those same parade watchers were drunken females launching into graphic descriptions of what they would like to do with the firemen, if their response would have been the same. Certainly with as many people that attended the parade, there must certainly be video documenting this alleged behavior. If not, then I am left to wonder what actually motivated the complaint. It also seems to me that their anger should be directed towards those that made the alleged remarks, rather than those that asked that they participate in a community event. Instead, they have revealed their bias by filing a lawsuit for being “forced’ to participate in a GLBT community event.

Michael Airhart
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

Acto,

Motive behind the filing is immaterial. (I say this as someone who has long battled the religious right.)

If public workers were required to participate in political events, either that’s illegal or it ought to be.

And if persistent unwanted sexual advances occurred in the performance of one’s employment, that’s sexual harassment. Case closed.

As they currently are contrived, Pride events in some cities like San Diego are neither family-friendly nor non-partisan. I wish they were, but they’re not.

No one should be required to attend a Pride event, knowing that crowds can be lewd, even if the lewdness is intended in good humor.

Pride is, by definition, a voluntary affirmation of same-gender sexual orientation.

When someone is mandated by a public entity to “affirm” gayness, it’s no longer voluntary pride, it’s dishonesty and political intimidation.

Actosrep
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

Michael,
Then by that line of reasoning, participation in Columbus Day Parades and St.Patrick’s Day parades should also be banned as participation in “religious” events. For if the city chooses to send its employees to these events, it is obviously sends a signal that the local government supports Catholicism.

Regarding your remarks about being family friendly, neither is Mardi Gras yet the police officers do not seem to have a problem performing their duties. By the nature of their duties, cops, firefighters and EMT’s come into contact every day with people that exhibit lewd behavior, yet I can’t recall seeing any lawsuits.

Timothy Kincaid
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

Mike,

No, you are mistaken. Motive behind the filing of a complaint is NOT immaterial. It goes to the heart of whether there was any “harassment” or whether this is simply heterosexist assumption about to what group of citizens the city should make outreach efforts.

You are also far off base when you make the assertion that pride parades are inherently political. In your assertion that they are partisan, particularly this parade, you are displaying your ignorance. While it is indisputable that the majority of gay persons identify as Democrat, fully one quarter of gay-identified voters selected Republican candidates in the last national election and gay Republicans are visible in many gay pride events – perhaps more so in San Diego than elsewhere.

Perhaps you are unaware that the political tradition of San Diego is simultaneously pro-Republican and pro-gay. This anomoly results in the SD District Attorney being an open Republican Lesbian. Perhaps it also explains why the party’s endorsed nominee for the “conservative” 5th district for city council is openly gay.

As for the parade being partisan, it might interest you to know that when the Rupublican mayor proposed that July be “Gay Pride Month”, the Republican city council members joined the rest of the council in unanimously supporting the proclamation. In fact, if you attended San Diego Pride you would see elected Republicans in the parade as well as elected Democrats and representatives from other parties such as the Green Party and the Libertarians.

You may think that pride parades are inappropriate, and you are entitled to think that if you wish. But to set them apart from other civic events as “political” suggests to me a mindset that continues to see gay citizens as a minority that is different from other minorities and somehow not worthy of equal consideration.

The simple acceptance of a segment of the city is not a “political” act. Unless, of course, you think that representation at LA’s Lotus Festival is “political” because it shows tolerance of Asians. Or perhaps a fire department presense at the Martin Luther King Day Parade is “political” because those participating favor the highly political notion that black people are entitled to equal treatment with whites.

The City behaved appropriately. It sought volunteers. When that fell through at the last moment, it placed representation at a huge event important to a large segment of the population ahead of the homophobic objections of four officers who were afraid of being teased.

Now you can argue all day about “harassment”. But go read the EEO complaint. It is very clear from their own words that their objections had very little to do with the inappropriate behaviors of a few people within the crowd and were instead pre-determined and based on their objection to having to mix with their gay constituents.

I’m sorry. But gay panic does not compare to actual sexual harassment. And it is an insult to those who experience real harassment to make this comparison.

North Dallas Thirty
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

When that fell through at the last moment, it placed representation at a huge event important to a large segment of the population ahead of the homophobic objections of four officers who were afraid of being teased.

Which is illegal for them to do under California law.

What should have been done is that, without volunteers, there should have been no fire engine.

But the lesbian fire chief placed pandering to her sexual orientation and her own personal gratification ahead of her responsibility to her employees as mandated by state law — just like other lesbian fire chiefs.

And of course, the gays like Timothy Kincaid come out to explain why THEY need protection against harassment and why THEY should not be forced by their employers to participate in activities against their will, but that people that they don’t like should be.

Michael Airhart
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

Timothy,

You have offered a long series of strawman arguments. For starters, by saying pride events are “partisan,” I did not mean Democrat/Republican.

I also do not think pride events are inappropriate. I simply think they need to be friendlier to gay families and kids, and to heterosexuals.

do see room in society for lewd gay events and I wouldn’t mind attending some, but our annual keynote events should not be limited in appeal to adult males willing to see (and be solicited by) other men.

I am saddened that you continue to trivialize sexual harassment and the politicization of government functions.

Timothy Kincaid
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

Michael,

Having been subjected to unwanted sexual advances by immediate supervisors at two separate places of employment, let me assure you that I do take harassment seriously. However, I believe that to equate the gay panic of these four officers to sexual harassment is offensive, demeaning, and trivializing to those who actually experience it.

Secondly, my perception is that your sadness of the “politicization” of government functions seems to be limited to those functions that serve to reach gay citizens. I hope that is not the case.

But perhaps if you had expressed objections to the presense of city services representatives at car shows, ethic celebrations, county fairs, the Christmas Parade, or any of the dozens of other community events, your claims would sound more sincere. If your sole objection is raised when it is a gay community event, you run the risk of sounding like Exodus claiming to oppose hate crimes bills.

Jim Burroway
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

My only question, which I don’t believe has been addressed here or anywhere else, centers around city policy.

Are firefighters routinely summoned to participate in community parades or are they handled on a volunteer basis? Is it a consistent policy, and was that policy administered consistently here? I have my opinions about what the policy ought to be, but what is it?

To me, that is the only issue. Otherwise, I’d have to agree with Timothy — one community parade should not be treated differently from another.

As for the claims of harrassment themselves, I just don’t see it. The employer did not sexually harrass anyone. There are grounds for cases where firefighters were apparently harrassed by their fellow employees. It seems some training and corrective action is in order there.

But if firefighters were called to inspect a strip club or evacuate a topless bar, would they be filing complaints if some of the girls thought they were cute and said so suggestively or even aggressively? Would they even have grounds to do so? I doubt it.

Timothy Kincaid
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

Jim,

The policy (though I don’t know if it is formal) has been in San Diego for the Department to look for a crew to volunteer. This did happen in San Diego but a member of Crew 24 was unable to participate due to a death in the family. This problem arose literally the day before the parade.

The city’s response was to select the crew which was the most local, Crew 5. I don’t know if they looked for a secondary volunteer crew or not.

I suspect that a new policy will arise from this issue. But it does not seem that their existing policy was prepared for this emergency situation.

But I doubt that whether or not a resulting policy change is made, the city will allow the personal biases of any particular crew to dictate the outreach efforts of the San Diego Fire Department.

a. mcewen
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

And I may point out that the only thing that IS known is that a lawsuit was filed.

We do not know the entire story.

Forgive me for being skeptical but based on past controversies (such as those concerning David Parker and Repent America) that have been conjured up to claim evil on the part of lgbts, I have to wonder what is the actual story concerning this incident.

Meanwhile, we have folks coming on to this blog and impunging the reputation of lgbt fire fighters.

Regardless of how this situation turns out, lgbt fire fighters work as hard as their heterosexual counterparts in performing their duties.

That this situation is being used to discredit them is the real problem as far as I am concerned.

Jim Burroway
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

ND30:

Public employees are not your sex toys, Timothy Kincaid, and the fact that gays like you think they should be forced to tolerate your lewd comments and gestures because you “pay their salaries” is flat-out, blatant hypocrisy.

And of course, the gays like Timothy Kincaid come out to explain why THEY need protection against harassment and why THEY should not be forced by their employers to participate in activities against their will, but that people that they don’t like should be.

You are raising some very good points in your comments and forcing everyone here to think about some very important issues. I appreciate your input.

But please refrain from ad hominem and strawman attacks.

homer
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

Blowing kisses is sexual harassment?

I’m very skeptical of this incident. The statements made by the firemen in their complaint are almost formulaic- 1). first the description of their attempts to get out of participating, 2). then the descriptions of the purported harassment(often with exactly matching language), 3) the discussion of their pain at being taunted by the Christian groups, and 4). then their need for a crisis intervention team. What lawyer coached them when making their statements?

So sorry the firemen didn’t want to be in the parade. But you know what, gay people pay taxes too. Sorry that some people acted inappropriately, but then I’ve been to many events where inappropriate behavior took place (political rallies, my college graduation, protests).

These men are looking for either a nice juicy settlement or are out to punish their lesbian firechief.

North Dallas Thirty
August 8th, 2007 | LINK

I wonder- if those same parade watchers were drunken females launching into graphic descriptions of what they would like to do with the firemen, if their response would have been the same.

And I wonder if your reaction would be the same if lewd and insulting comments, sexual come-ons, and unwelcome behavior and images were made to female firefighters by males.

Because the law says nothing about covering only one gender.

As for the claims of harrassment themselves, I just don’t see it. The employer did not sexually harrass anyone. There are grounds for cases where firefighters were apparently harrassed by their fellow employees. It seems some training and corrective action is in order there.

Under California law, specifically Assembly Bill 76 of 2003, a clarification of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employer may be held accountable for sexual harassment of its employees by non-employees if the employer knew or should have known that there was a reasonable chance of it occurring.

Furthermore, the case law surrounding Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its subsequent 1991 retrofit makes clear as well that employers may not avoid responsibility for failure to prevent sexual harassment from occurring when the employer knows that there is a reasonable chance of it occurring.

Since sexual harassment is defined as “unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature” by the EEOC, I think only the most clueless of individuals could attempt to argue that that would not happen at a pride parade — and especially not when it was blurted out that, with “fifteen years” of attendance, ignorance of the presence of catcallers, sexual innuendoes, and deliberately-sexual images and activities is pretty well shot as an excuse.

a. mcewen
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

“Under California law, specifically Assembly Bill 76 of 2003, a clarification of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employer may be held accountable for sexual harassment of its employees by non-employees if the employer knew or should have known that there was a reasonable chance of it occurring.

Furthermore, the case law surrounding Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and its subsequent 1991 retrofit makes clear as well that employers may not avoid responsibility for failure to prevent sexual harassment from occurring when the employer knows that there is a reasonable chance of it occurring.”

If what you say is true, then I don’t think the firefighters have a case. From what I understand, fire fighters have been participating for years in this prides and there never was a problem.

your claim – ” I think only the most clueless of individuals could attempt to argue that that would not happen at a pride parade — and especially not when it was blurted out that, with “fifteen years” of attendance, ignorance of the presence of catcallers, sexual innuendoes, and deliberately-sexual images and activities is pretty well shot as an excuse” sounds pretty farfetched to me.

Denise
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

North Dallas Thirty,

While the letter of the law applies equally to persons of all genders and harassment by same- and opposite-sex persons, it must also be applied equally in practice. The harassment experienced by the male firefighters in the pride parade (lewd catcalls and gestures, attendees wearing sexually suggestive clothing) is indeed harassment, but is so pedestrian that a female firefighter getting the same unwanted attention in a parade would not even file, because she experiences similar harassment walking home from work and on her way to the grocery store. If you don’t want to take my word for it, search Google for “Hollaback”, which is a movement to photograph these incidents and embarrass the perpetrators into better behavior.

Harassment of women on the order of what these men experienced is treated as normal, and she would be lauhed out of the DA’s office. By urging aggressive action because the harassment was from people of the same sex, you are advocating special treatment for these men. No harassment is deserved or asked-for. But equal treatment under the law is equal treatment, period.

The fire department should have a backup plan if the volunteers to represent them in community parades are not able to follow through. This is good planning, regardless of the event, as workers know they are “on call” for duty at a given time. They have the opportunity to raise concerns in a constructive manner ahead of time, and if need be alternative assignments can be made.

North Dallas Thirty
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

From what I understand, fire fighters have been participating for years in this prides and there never was a problem.

One of my very first consulting jobs in this particular field was with a CEO who was facing a lawsuit for pinching his administrative assistant’s rump.

His defense? “Well, no one ever complained before……”

And when you looked at the personnel records, you figured out why; there were some unusually-short tenures of employees who apparently had voiced concerns about such behaviors.

As I have explained to countless engineers who are used to sending nasty limericks and questionable pictures to everyone on their email list, what you find hilarious others may find offensive — and the fact that you find it hilarious does not constitute a defense.

To Denise:

The harassment experienced by the male firefighters in the pride parade (lewd catcalls and gestures, attendees wearing sexually suggestive clothing) is indeed harassment, but is so pedestrian that a female firefighter getting the same unwanted attention in a parade would not even file, because she experiences similar harassment walking home from work and on her way to the grocery store.

That’s her choice. In my opinion, if she experiences sexual harassment, she is justified in filing. The fact that she chooses not to do so does not indicate that anyone else shouldn’t.

And frankly, she’s making a very dumb decision, in my opinion.

Harassment of women on the order of what these men experienced is treated as normal, and she would be lauhed out of the DA’s office.

Then that DA needs to be fired (or removed) and disbarred for clear dereliction of duty.

And I personally would challenge you to provide examples of a situation in which a female employee was forced to work in a situation in which she was repeatedly exposed to sexual harassment, but was dissuaded from filing by the DA. Indeed, it is because a female employee was courageous enough to file a complaint and pursue an appeal when she lost on a legal technicality (Salazar v. Disabled Paratransit) that we have AB 76, which makes it clear to California employers that we have an obligation to protect our workers from sexual harassment in every aspect of their workplace.

Sexual harassment is not normal. I fully encourage any woman who is forced by her supervisor against her will and for something totally unrelated to her job to be exposed to the sort of lewd behavior, sexual catcalls, and innuendo that these firefighters were put through to file a complaint and pursue every legal option she can. That is her legal right.

The problem here, Denise, is that you don’t want to apply the law equally in practice — because doing so means stating publicly that glbts engage in bad behavior and that a lesbian fire chief put pleasing those of her own sexual orientation ahead of her duties and legal responsibilities as a manager.

Timothy Kincaid
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

The theoretical discussions about what is or is not harassment are all fine. But they do not seem to be relevant.

The four fire fighters in this case objected to being at the gay pride parade in advance – and not because of anticipated harassment.

Secondly, their claims about lewd comments seem suspect. The four crew members were not at street level – they were in the cab – and considering the distance that is maintained between the floats and the crowd, it seems unlikely that they were capable of hearing ANY comments made by specific crowd members.

At least one of the firemen marching alongside the fire truck has indicated that he did not observe any inappropriate comments made to the crew. And at least one of the “sexually suggestive” T-Shirts that were found to be offensive was the name of a group for heavier-set gay men called “Girth and Mirth”.

I personally do not believe – having read the complaint and being familiar with Thomas More – that there was any harassment involved and that if there was, this was NOT the motivation behind the complaint. Based on all of the above, it seems clear to me that the motivations behind the EEO filing were unrelated to comments – inappropriate or benign – and entirely related to the unwillingness on the part of the complaintants to be present at a gay event.

Others are, of course, entitled to different opinions.

What is not acceptable, however, are personal insults or attacks on the motivations of others such as the one made on Denise made by North Dallas Thirty. I know that such statements are common on other sites, but they will not be tolerated here. Please refrain from this sort of comment or take your comments elsewhere.

North Dallas Thirty
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

This comment has been deleted due to violation of our comments policy.

North Dallas Thirty
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

And I see that reprinting the truth is a violation of the “comments policy”.

Timothy Kincaid attacks the motivations of the firefighters and claims this, supposedly based on their complaint:

your local firefighters, those who will be called upon to save your life and property, despise you and think you are lewd, debased, and obscene. They consider your quest for liberty and equality to be “an agenda” and they consider waving at you to be beneath them. They want nothing to do with the local inhabitants and consider it a compromise to what they hold true to drive a fire truck in your midst.

but ignores what is expressed on page 13 and 14 of it.

I have a gay uncle who had been very active in my upbringing and still plays an important role in my life . From inside the fire engine while we sat in staging, I saw my uncle ‘s life partner and their roommate . While I was already feeling that I was being
harassed, I did not want to disrespect my Uncle’s life partner, whom I also refer to as my “Uncle”. When I stepped out of the fire engine I felt like a heep stepping into the wolves den. I walked up to my “Uncle” and gave him a hug and kiss on the check. I then gave their roommate a hug, While I began to greet them, I overheard a man say, “Oh, the Fireman is giving out hugs. I hope he’s going to give me one .” I also saw a man gesture to his shirt, which read, “Have you ever ridden a fat man?”. I became so distraught and uncomfortable that my knees began to shake . I did not mention my objection to my participation in the parade to my “Uncle” because I did not want him to think that I objected to his cause or his pride . That, I felt and still feel, was a different issue

And then on 14:

When we passed Fire Station 5 during the parade route, there was a group of people protesting homosexuality . They told us that we were going to go to hell for supporting the gay lifestyle . I took the comment with a grain of salt because I did not agree with them, but I felt uncomfortable being in the confrontational environment.

a. mcewen
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

NDH

If any of those firefighters posted on the site, I am sure they would be treated with respect.

The fact of the matter is that you ruin the credibility of your points when you make useless and totally groundless attacks against other posters.

You can make your points without attacking the motivations of other posters. If you feel that you can’t then maybe your argument needs work.

Mike Airhart
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

Homer,

Gay people don’t pay taxes for the purpose of making public employees say things that they don’t believe. And we don’t pay taxes for the purpose of inflating our perceived popular strength by hiring public workers to appear in parades and pretend to be pro-gay.

I don’t think public workers should be appearing in special-interest parades — gay parades, Hispanic parades, whatever — on government time or under government orders.

They should be arresting crooks, securing medical help for the injured, putting out fires, completing their casework, and advocating for improved law enforcement and fire prevention.

Timothy Kincaid
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

a mcewan,

Please limit your criticism of NDT to his arguments, not to his argument style.

Thanks

Timothy Kincaid
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

While I appreciate that many of us believe that a fire department’s job should be limited to emergency services, few metropolitan fire departments share that opinion. From the SDFD website:

San Diego City residents may be surprised by the large number of non-emergency services performed on a daily basis by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. From inspections and permitting to community education and non-emergency medical services, firefighters, medical personnel and lifeguards work hard to keep San Diegans safe and healthy.

I suspect that the Department considers outreach efforts to be part of community education.

Their mission also states:

Department members will be supportive and responsive to the needs of city government in a loyal, ethical, and professional manner.

If city government determines that outreach is needed to any particular community, the department is commited to be supportive. For the past 15 years, this city has decided that outreach to the gay community is beneficial to the administration of the city.

Naturally, we all have opinions as to what “should be” done by our city officials. That’s why they are elected – to meet the needs and requirements of the citizenry. And I am quite certain that there are some towns and cities in which the fire department will not participate in a gay pride parade or a Martin Luther King Day parade or indeed any minority community event.

Jason
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

Anyone else find it odd that they all put down that they were harassed because of their sexual orientation? Nothing in their own testimony suggests they were harassed for being straight, nor do they indicate in any way that anyone knew or percieved that these were straight men. I’m not even sure if all of them are straight.

Seems to me that someone coached them on how to fill out the forms, and it would not even surprise me if the lawyers were involved before they even set foot at the firehouse that morning.

I do think their leadership did fail them in the sense that no one bothered to coach them on how to represent the fire department in a public event. Their own testimony indicates that they were merely told to show up. With volunteers they’re already in the right frame of mind, but you should never send someone out to represent your organization without some sort of briefing. Especially someone not interested in attending the event.

I don’t think that excuses their behavior, and their obvious hypersensitivity — I think even a simple “hello” would’ve been treated as an “unwelcome sexual advance” in their frame of mind.

Whatever they decide should apply to all events, however, not just the gay ones or the ones people have strong feelings about. It probably would’ve been better to not have any representation at the event than to have such poor representation.

Finally, though, I think anyone who chooses to serve the public, should absolutely table their displeasure when they are called upon to represent their department or community. I don’t understand the mentality of someone who chooses a public service job but wants to avoid parts of the public! I also think that the firemen who taunted the participants should all be disciplined, as that was clearly out of line.

Jim Burroway
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

Again, I go back to my original question: What is the policy, and was it followed consistent with other community parades?

We know what they did — look for volunteers, and when that didn’t pan out at the last minute, they sent a crew from the Hillcrest station, which would be the community station for the community parade. I don’t know whether that was the policy or not. I only know that is what happened.

So the question is, is this unprecedented? Has a crew of nonvolunteers been sent to any other community parades? If so, then the fire chief can’t exactly be singled out for this one.

And as for sexual harassment, this crew is as likely to be harassed at any number of calls. Should only volunteers be sent to investigate smoke at a gay bar? What about a hetero strip club? Is the city liable if they are harassed there?

When advocating for equality and an even playing field, consistent answers to these questions ought to be a good measure of what equality really means.

Eclectic Infidel
August 9th, 2007 | LINK

Bottom line, these firemen should have been given a CHOICE as to participation in the parade. It’s obvious that they would have rather not been there but I’m not all that certain that their lawsuit holds water. Yes, they may have been taunted and felt uncomfortable, but is it worth a lawsuit? It will be interesting to note how this plays out. Regardless though, I don’t think it was right for their boss to order them to be in the parade. The parade had nothing to do with their jobs.

North Dallas Thirty
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

If any of those firefighters posted on the site, I am sure they would be treated with respect.

Well, duh; most people are not foolish or brave enough to call them sissies, whiners, and liars to their face.

It’s a better measure of how people feel about them to see how they’re described when they’re NOT in the room.

Kevin
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

This is much ado about nothing. The Thomas More Center, another one of the cabal of christo-fascist legal organizations dedicated to “protecting” the rights of right wing “Christians,” was also instrumental in whining about the San Diego Pride night event at the Padres game because children were present when the Gay Men’s Chorus sang the national anthem.

Not only does this complaint smell of typical wingnut hysteria over anything “gay” – meaning the very presence of openly gay citizens actually celebrating their lives – but it seems grounded in nonsense.

Were the firefighters able to identify each person watching the parade as “gay” or everyone on the participating floats as “gay?” Hardly. And yet they have this deeply sensitive abhorrance of “sexual harassment” based on what? Their own open privilege of dissin’ and leering at cheerleaders in skimpy costumes marching in a parade or performing on the football field?

It was a parade. I don’t give a rat’s behind if some stuffy con-artist con-servatives presume they have the right to define what is “decent” or “family-friendly” according to their rigid, black-suit wearing notions. They don’t represent the public, and yet they expect the public to clear the streets so the city can celebrate religious holidays with parades or demand that everyone believe in Santa Claus “for the children” without regard for anyone else’s deeply-held and true beliefs.

While the costumes might be wild and the music gyrating, no one is humping on the streets and there is always a good presence of “families” – just not always the kind of “families” the Right declares as politically correct.

It seems ludicrous to me that firefighters, who have offered the public such things as beefcake calendars, would suddenly act all offended at driving a truck in a local parade that shows their public commitment to serving all citizens in that neighborhood. I’d be more concerned that this complaint signals in unwillingness for the crew to adequately perform their jobs if they perceive a house on fire to belong to someone who they’ve determined violates their “deeply-held” right-wing beliefs.

This parade has been going on for 30 years – it wasn’t started yesterday – and the participation of local fire departments is a tradition of 15 years, so it’s likely this crew knew representatives of the fire department usually participate, just as they know they’ll see a fire truck at any other parade in the city.

Were the firefighters required to wear thongs on the truck to indicate their endorsement of the “lewd” behavior con-servatives suddenly discover when they protest these events? Were they expected to gyrate and grind at a crowd? Were they forced to wear signs that said “Straight firefighter” to invite perceived sexual harassment?

By this same token, can we assume that a hetero firefighter who insists on wearing a wedding band on the job, or who has pictures of the family in the station and talks of his wife and kids sexually harassing the single or gay firefighters by suggesting that he has a steady lay? And is the firefighter who publicly makes statements about “deeply-held religious” beliefs suddenly proselytizing? And if so, isn’t this the same kind of lewd behavior disrespecting the person who cannot legally marry or who holds different beliefs?

Now if someone can tell me that a fire truck has never been used in a wedding or a department has never been used in a marriage proposal, or that a gay citizen has never been subject to public events which celebrate the sexual acts of heterosexuals, they might have an argument. Otherwise, this is pretty much nothing more than another typically right-wing whinefest about anything and everything “gay.”

Jason
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

Eclectic infidel,
The firefighters did have a choice, they could’ve chosen to not be firefighters.

It’s been a tradition for quite a number of years for public officials, firefighers, police officers, military personnel to participate in community events such as festivals and parades.

The inclusion of outfits and t-shirts as a form of sexual harassment is ridiculous. The fire department cannot possibly be held accountable for what other people wear.

Their testimony proves that they went into this situation hoping to get a lawsuit out of it, so that everything and anything said, even the most innocuous of comments are being considered “harassment”.

The bottom line is that there is NO job on earth that is perfect. There is always something that we’d rather not do, things we absolutely hate and think are ridiculous and “not my job”. The question becomes, which is more important, your objection, or your job? You ALWAYS have a choice. If you don’t want to deal with gay people, black people, white people, if you don’t want to interact with certain kinds of people, if the thought that someone you’re not attracted to might express an interest in you is disgusting, and you cannot ever “grin n bear it” or take it in good humor —- PUBLIC service is not for you. In large numbers the public can be annoying, rude, lame, and infuriating. I should know, I live next to Wrigley Field in Chicago. If these guys think gays are bad, try dealing with cubs fans! They’re not exactly a picture of family values after a game lets out.

The problem is their chain of command did not brief them beforehand on how to act, how to take a joke, how to properly represent their firehouse to the community. No one even reminded them that this is, essentially, a celebration, and that they should at least TRY to have a good time. They were set up for failure, and they did fail.

North Dallas Thirty
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

if the thought that someone you’re not attracted to might express an interest in you is disgusting, and you cannot ever “grin n bear it” or take it in good humor —- PUBLIC service is not for you.

I repeat what I posted above:

So firemen are supposed to put up with sexual taunts and lewd comments from people because said people “pay their salaries”?

If someone makes lewd comments about the fire chief, she’s supposed to smile, be nice to them, play along, and not file a complaint or exercise her legal rights because that person is a taxpayer?

If a gay man or female manager working at a city office is taunted and harassed by people for refusing to go along with their sexual comments, he is at fault, because he or she should just be friendly and do whatever they want — and he or she should be fired for damaging “community relationships”?

Sexual harassment training is quite clear: you do NOT have to take peoples’ actions or comments that make you uncomfortable as “a joke” or believe that there’s something wrong with you for being offended, and you have the right to get it to stop without having to worry about your job being threatened.

The problem in this case is that gay people are the harassers and that a lesbian fire chief is the employer — which means that the choice is between either admitting that gay people acted inappropriately, or making demeaning and insulting comments about these men for exercising their legal rights.

Also keep in mind the fact that gays insisting that straight men should just “laugh off” unwanted sexual attention and just “take it as a joke” is not only hypocritical, but a strong argument against ENDA, DADT, and other such laws.

Kevin
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

The fire chief is not the employer – the people of the city are the employers. And these people – and this parade – is part of the dozen or so community celebrations which take place during the year. I’m sure these same firefighters opt out of parades where cheerleaders perform in revealing clothing, or where women where makeup, tease their hair and shave their bodies in order to look “more attractive” to men.

At no point have I seen anything which indicates the firefighters were required to wear revealing clothing – and yet they somehow heard and memorized specific “sexual taunts” made by people watching them drive by in the parade? It is just a bit too unbelieveable. These are certainly not “sensitive” men – after all, have they objected to being told to participate in any parade where women appear as sexual objects (which would be every parade)? Were they required to dress in a provocative manner or in the uniforms provided by the public and driving the equipment the public provides? Were they scanning the crowd, which they appear not to acknowledge, for anyone making a lewd remark that is completely out of the ordinary for anything a heterosexual man has done in public? Were they without wedding rings, pictures of their wives and the products of heterosexual intercourse? Were they forced to stand there and individually make statements supporting the gay community beyond representing the department in a parade which, by the way, also features several religious groups who, apparently, didn’t object to behavior?

It might be true that these people weren’t “briefed” on participation, but participation isn’t new nor is it uncommon. And these men are stationed in the very community in which they are paid to serve the public, and that includes outreach. It would be interesting to see, for example, what this crew would say if a gay community group asked for a fire station tour. . .or whether that, once again, constitutes some violation of a created “deeply-held” belief.

Their argument might carry a whole lot more weight if the public officials who participated were complaining, or the other groups marching were complaining – but they aren’t. Just the con-artist, con-servative “Christians” who suddenly discovered how to use the same legal organization which objected to the gay men’s chorus singing the national anthem at a baseball game. And since that is the case, I suspect this has more to do with being offended that the gay community isn’t ostracized and separated from the rest of the population – and their objection to the whole concept of gay pride – because their beliefs dictate that gays should be closeted and ordered to dress and act a certain way.

Perhaps the gays in that community should consider whether the presence of public employees with a pronounced declaration of their aversion to serving that community should be asking more questions. I certainly don’t want to be subjected to the “moral” and “religious” beliefs of con-artist con-servatives who use them as a means to promote their own political agenda – particularly when that agenda (as represented by the legal organization supporting them) is one attempting to strip the gay community of their civil rights and place as an equal part of the community.

This all looks like another wingnut pre-manufactured political scheme to me.

a. mcewen
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

but doesn’t all the points you made about sexual harrassment apply to people on your job, NDT i.e. your fellow employees?

Granted there can be an argument that the firefighters were “on the job” when the incidents happened but I think that is going to be a highly murky area.

And this point you mentioned – “Under California law, specifically Assembly Bill 76 of 2003, a clarification of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act, an employer may be held accountable for sexual harassment of its employees by non-employees if the employer knew or should have known that there was a reasonable chance of it occurring.” – may also be murky.

Did the fire chief know that there would be a reasonable chance that the firemen would be “harrassed” at the pride parade. I don’t think that there were any earlier complaints from past pride parades.

Intimating that because the parade had a gay theme, expect there to be some type of sexual harrassment won’t necessarily stand up.

And when I say that, please understand that I am not accusing you of making that assumption. I am just saying the above argument may stand up in a court of law.

Also I really don’t see this as being a case of “admitting that gay people acted inappropriately, or making demeaning and insulting comments about these men for exercising their legal rights.”

Rightfully so, some people like myself are suspicious as to who filed the lawsuit (i.e. Thomas More Law Center) and it is being spun in the media (i.e. One News Now, various “pro-family” and right-wing blogs and online publications). I think that is where a lot of the skepticism is coming from.

a. mcewen
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

Mistake – i meant to say in what i wrote – above argument may NOT stand up in a court of law.

Jason
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

North Dallas Thirty,
By your logic, anyone who ever receives any kind of unwanted attention can sue for sexual harassment.

For example, if I say “hello” to you and you don’t like it, you can take me to court for sexual harassment. I don’t have to touch you, wink at you, or make any sort of gesture, all I have to do is attempt to communicate with you and that’s enough to land me in court?

Apparently every women who’s ever heard, “Can I buy you a drink?”, or “Nice night?” or “Hello, my name is Bob.” from a man she didn’t find appealing has a right to take that man to court.

This wide-ranging sexual harassment idea essentially says that there is absolutely no way to make an “innocent” expression of your interest without getting sued.

There is a difference between expressing an interest, making a joke, and actual harassment. The kind of gay panic, homphobic, vindictive and pre-planned action we’re seeing here is an insult to real sexual harassment victims everywhere.

I read the entire report. And I reiterate my point, those men went in there looking for things to document, so they wrote down everything that could even remotely be considered shocking, got offended at innocent things like “girth and mirth” and probably made several things up.

I’ve marched in a gay pride parade, at street level, less than 3 feet from the crowd. It was impossible to hear what anyone was saying over the music, the floats, and the crowd noise, I find it exceedingly difficult to believe that the firefighters, sitting inside a vehicle that makes as much noise as a fire engine all heard the exact same comments while sitting several feet in the air and inside the vehicle.

I find it ridiculous to hear a man say he hugged and kissed a gay man, yet when another casually mentioned he would like a hug, that he felt so destraught his knees began to buckle?? Not sex, a HUG for christs sake! Is he sure he’s up for the task of fighting fires, because apparently the mention of hugs terrifies him.

And I never said anything about anyone getting fired, don’t put words in my mouth. I said if people don’t want to deal with certain segments of the public, I don’t think they should work in public service. Just as I think someone who does not want to dispense the morning after pill shouldn’t work at a Pharmacy, and someone who doesn’t want preside over a gay wedding shouldn’t be a justice of the peace. Essentially if you have a strong objection to any part of your job description or job environment, you shouldn’t work there.

I don’t believe these men were harassed for one second. I believe they planned to file sexual harassment papers prior to the event (their own testimony supports this),they gathered thin evidence, and then made the rest up. I think they’re misusing the legal system to attack their employer because they didn’t want to do part of their job. They think they’re exempt from doing things they don’t want to do, simply because they don’t want to do them, and they’re mad that they had to have anything to do with gay people at all.

Jim Burroway
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

Jason,

I think you’re overstating ND30′s arguments just a bit, don’t you think? There’s a big difference between what ND30′s describing and what you’re describing.

I wonder how many on this forum have undergone sexual harrassment training in your workplaces. If so, here’s a pop quiz: when an employee is ordered to do something by his boss which places him or her into a perceived sexually hostile environment, is the employer liable?

The surprising answer is yes, in some cases. But usually those situations invlove placing the employer in hostile environments with contractors, vendors, subcontractors, etc., not the general public as is the case here.

North Dallas Thirty
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

By your logic, anyone who ever receives any kind of unwanted attention can sue for sexual harassment.

Yes. That is the law.

Whether or not they win the lawsuit is another matter entirely.

But I promise you this: it never looks good in a court of law when the immediate response by the alleged perpetrator of sexual harassment to spread rumors and make claims that the other person is vindictive, anti-male, and is just lying so she can get an expensive settlement.

It is expected under California and Federal law that you take every — repeat EVERY — allegation of sexual harassment seriously, investigate it, and avoid making comments about the person making the allegation. For you to practice the type of character assassination that you are doing on these firemen would be prima facie evidence that a hostile and harassing environment exists, thus lending even more credence to the sexual harassment charge.

And two can play at this game. When confronted with sexual harassment by gays before, glbts have claimed that the people making the complaint were motivated by “homophobia and sexism”. What’s to make people believe that this isn’t another attempt by glbts to cover up bad behavior by a lesbian fire chief?

Again, the basic problem is that you are, rather than admitting that gay people could have acted inappropriately, trying to minimize and accuse of lying the firemen making the accusation.

For example:

I find it ridiculous to hear a man say he hugged and kissed a gay man, yet when another casually mentioned he would like a hug, that he felt so destraught his knees began to buckle??

So a woman who hugged and kissed a relative in a place that she found uncomfortable, but then was upset when a person she didn’t even know and wasn’t attracted to starting saying, “Hey look, the pretty girl is handing out hugs and kisses, can I have one too?”, is “ridiculous” as well? Would you tolerate someone saying that?

North Dallas Thirty
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

But usually those situations invlove placing the employer in hostile environments with contractors, vendors, subcontractors, etc., not the general public as is the case here.

Usually, yes.

But Federal law, and more specifically California law, place the burden on the employer to prevent sexual harassment if it can in any way be anticipated.

And given that even gay people find some images, conduct, behavior, and statements made at Pride parades to be objectionable, it could be reasonably anticipated that the same would take place here.

The “well, nobody ever complained before” argument doesn’t hold water either. You may have been telling those obscene stories to new employees for ten years, but that doesn’t make it any less objectionable if the next one you try it on takes umbrage. Especially if it was made clear to everyone, either directly or indirectly, that those who didn’t laugh or go along with your stories were on the fast track to bad performance reviews, no increases, and out the door.

Again, some of the things being said here are just plain clueless. Nobody in their right mind would walk around calling an administrative assistant who objected to having to attend a strip club to take notes for the boss’s meeting a “fundy” and a “man-hater” for filing a sexual harassment complaint, just because she happens to be religious and because she filed the complaint. It doesn’t matter how inane you think it is, how little you think of her lawyer, how much you hate her religious beliefs, or whatnot; what matters is that the person is offended, and that ultimately the judge or the DFEH/EEOC will have to decide whether or not the offense is reasonable — and if your first response is character assassination, I can promise you that that makes it far more so.

Kevin
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

The person who claims to be “offended” has to show there is reason for that “offense” – not merely attempt to use it as some newly-discovered tenet of con-artist con-servative “religious” doctrine.

There are certainly plenty of cases where the “perception” of “offense” was used as an excuse to murder gay Americans, and that excuse is still being used today. Moreover, these are men working in a heavily-gay neighborhood, which means they are in contact with the community every day – and suddenly they have this preconceived idea about being offended?

The fact they went to the same legal organization which threw a tantrum over the gay chorus singing at a baseball game (because children…shudder…were present) doesn’t speak well for the motivations of those men – or for their particular dedication to honesty.

I don’t care how they handle the investigation – but if I was living in Hillcrest, I would suddenly not feel very comfortable calling that fire department.

Timothy Kincaid
August 10th, 2007 | LINK

I believe that NDT’s arguments are faulty in that they convolute the persons on this site with the Fire Department, it’s administration, the residents of San Diego and pride attendees.

The question is not whether one has told dirty jokes in the past, but rather whether the employer of these men had reason to believe they would be sexually harassed. This is Kevin’s point. Without any complaint for 15 years, it will be difficult for them to claim that their supervisor should have expected it.

Secondarily, Kevin’s calling into question the integrity and the veracity of the claims of these persons is not in any way an indication of the type of reception they received last month in San Diego. The two are unrelated. My criticism of, say, Hillary Clinton, says nothing whatsoever about her welcome at the Logo debate last night.

Those arguments simply don’t stand up to logic.

North Dallas Thirty
August 12th, 2007 | LINK

Moreover, these are men working in a heavily-gay neighborhood, which means they are in contact with the community every day – and suddenly they have this preconceived idea about being offended?

Do people behave differently on the day of Pride parades than they do normally?

And if they do, then in what fashion?

Answer those questions honestly, and you will have your answer.

ILoveAmerica
August 15th, 2007 | LINK

Duplicate comment removed

Jason
August 16th, 2007 | LINK

***I find it ridiculous to hear a man say he hugged and kissed a gay man, yet when another casually mentioned he would like a hug, that he felt so destraught his knees began to buckle??***

NDT said:
So a woman who hugged and kissed a relative in a place that she found uncomfortable, but then was upset when a person she didn’t even know and wasn’t attracted to starting saying, “Hey look, the pretty girl is handing out hugs and kisses, can I have one too?”, is “ridiculous” as well? Would you tolerate someone saying that?
(end of NDT quote)

If you want to be fair the sentence should read “Hey look, the girl is handing out hugs and kisses, I hope she hugs and kisses me too.”
The testimony shows the person casually wondered about it out loud, but did not specifically ask for a hug. There is a difference.

Now that we’re being fair. My answer is “yes” I would tolerate it. In fact, I have tolerated it because it isn’t a sexual remark, nor is it anything I would worry about. I’ve been legitimately sexually harassed, and have known others who have as well, so I do know the difference.

Oh, and I love your attempt to shame me for pointing out facts and making critical comments about the firemen.

I will re-iterate….

-I have not only attended Pride Parades but I have actually participated and as someone in that situation, I clearly, clearly, remember it being too damn loud to hear what people standing next to me were saying. I certainly couldn’t hear the crowd and I was at street level. Therefore I find it hard to believe that men sitting inside a loud firetruck, at a noisy event, with windows several feet in the air could all clearly hear the exact same comments. Did the comment makers have bullhorns?

-More than one of the firemen documented in their own paperwork that they had pre-planned to file paperwork before they set foot inside the truck. Does that not lend evidence to this being a trumped up lawsuit?

-They claim that clothing harassed them, and cite such innocent examples as “look at the big firemen” (Let’s note that while harassment is offensive, not every offense is harassment.)

-All of the men marked on the form that they were harassed because of their sexual orientation — yet none of them provides any follow up evidence, or make any attempt to elaborate on how they were harassed regarding their sexual orientation. Nobody called them breeders or homos, or anything of the kind so where’s this harassment based on sexual orientation? Even if everything they said is true, none of it points to harassment based on their actual or perceived orientation.

this is a gem here:
“It is expected under California and Federal law that you take every — repeat EVERY — allegation of sexual harassment seriously, investigate it, and avoid making comments about the person making the allegation. For you to practice the type of character assassination that you are doing on these firemen would be prima facie evidence that a hostile and harassing environment exists, thus lending even more credence to the sexual harassment charge.”

A) I don’t live in CA. I’m not a police officer, lawyer or judge. I’m not directly involved in this case. It’s nice that they have to take all complaints seriously, but that doesn’t mean that I have to as well. Our legal system is clogged with frivolous lawsuits, I need proof. Innocent until proven guilty.

B) So essentially I’m not allowed to point out obvious flaws in their testimony and their assessment of the situation? Because pointing them out is “character assasination” (nice use of drama there) and apparently defacto evidence that they are 100% right. That’s super. I guess the trial is over then, hang the crowd, hang the supervisors, and apparently hang the evil dyke fire chief that you have some sort of mysterious vendetta against.

Incidentally why do you have a link that goes to some scandal involving a lesbian fire chief in Minneapolis? It’s not the same woman, nor is it a remotely similar situation. Are you suggesting that all lesbian fire chiefs are intrinsically corrupt, creating your own brand new lesbian stereotype?

You’ll also note at no point did I defend the crowd. I think what the crowd did or did not do is irrelevant until they get some witnesses. Presuming as some do, that Pride Parades offend all kinds of homos, I’m sure someone saw/heard the events described and is willing to testify. Until then, I’m sorry, no sale. Their testimony is sketchy, logically inconsistent, and does not have an air of anything other than fear-based hostility, add on that their legal counsel has a dubious history, and I can’t say I’m a believer.

kamasutras
September 3rd, 2007 | LINK

The first evidence of attitudes towards sex comes from the ancient texts of Hinduism, Buddhism and Jainism, the first of which are perhaps the oldest surviving literature in the world. These most ancient texts, the Vedas, reveal moral perspectives on sexuality, marriage and fertility prayers. Sex magic featured in a number of Vedic rituals, most significantly in the Asvamedha Yajna, where the ritual culminated with the chief queen lying with the dead horse in a simulated sexual act; clearly a fertility rite intended to safeguard and increase the kingdom’s productivity and martial prowess. The epics of ancient India, the Ramayana and Mahabharata, which may have been first composed as early as 1400 BCE, had a huge effect on the culture of Asia, influencing later Chinese, Japanese, Tibetan and South East Asian culture.

anonymous
September 26th, 2007 | LINK

The Fire Dept. job is to make sure that if a fire breaks out during the parade, that they will extinguish it & protect people from harm. That is neutrally performing 1’s job & protecting other people’s 1st Amendment rights. HOWEVER, to force the firemen to march in the parade is sexual harassment & violates their 1st Amendment rights, because the firemen see something wrong with homo & lesbian sexual behaviors.

The firemen could not carry signs saying that homo & lesbian sexual behaviors are harmful & that celibacy is good for homosexuals. If you see something wrong with a sexual behavior, then being forced to say or celebrate that it’s OK is sexual harassment. What if a city wants to have a parade which says that homo & lesbian sexual behaviors are bad for the health? The Fire & Police Dept. job must simply be limited to extinguishing fires in the parades & protect people from crimes & fires.

Xrailcourt
September 28th, 2007 | LINK

As a SDFD firefighter I feel compelled to share some facts that may provide further insight, and enlightenment.

1)While its true the “city” never received a complaint the “department” did. Many times, spanning sevral years. They proptly sent the complaints to the round file.

2)The firefighters (not firemen, gender neutral) have served that district without incident for many years, and have received unit lifesaving citations, commendations, and several letters of thanks from the community.

3)The mission of SDFD is to potect lives and property, not ride in parades. (yes this includes all parades.) Coincidently all of the other city promoted parades are staffed with volunteers on a parade engine, not the districts front line emergency response engine. Using the front line rig deprives the rest of the community with aequate emergency response coverage.

While I dont approve of the law suit, without help from the department they had few options. Their is clearly a double standard in place, and the department has been negligant to correct it. We have many firefighters who would gladly volunteer for this duty resulting in better service to the community, improved moral, and compliance with EEO laws. Please dont be so quick to judge the feelings, values or morals of others or label them homophobic.

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