Four San Diego firefighters “forced” to attend a 2007 gay pride parade — which caused them “headaches, anxiety, irritable bowel syndrome and other stress-related symptoms,” according to their lawsuit — are entitled to a total of $34,300 (and more than a half-million in legal fees and court costs, plus interest), unanimously ruled the Fourth District Court of Appeal, upholding a lower court’s 2009 ruling.
The men — John Ghiotto, Chad Allison, Jason Hewitt, and Alexander Kane, who all still work for the fire department — were sexually harassed at the parade, an event they claim they never wanted to attend by were mandated to by their superiors, their lawsuit claimed. (In 2008, the rules were changed saying firefighters could volunteer but would not be forced to participate.)
Joseph Infranco, senior council with the notoriously anti-gay Alliance Defense Fund, says he hopes the 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” and that he’ll take the case “all the way to the California Supreme Court” if the city appeals. Ghiotto, one of the plaintiffs, says he’s happy with the ruling. The amount of money the city has spent on this is amazing — I’ll bet it’s in the millions by now. This whole thing could have been solved in a day. They knew two or three days before that we didn’t want to be in that parade.”