RIGHTS INTACT

Judge Rules Public Servants Aren’t Allowed To Opt Out Of Gay Events

3619LGBT-PRIDE-NYC-2011A Rhode Island Supreme Court judge ruled this week that the rights of two homophobic firefighters were not violated when they were ordered to drive the city’s firetruck in the 2001 Providence gay pride parade.

The two firefighters are suing former Mayor Buddy Cianci, claiming that their “constitutional religion and and free speech rights were violated” when he “forced” them to drive the parade route, which is considered community outreach and therefore a necessary duty for firefighters.

Kevin McHugh, the attorney representing Cianci, called the case “ridiculous” and argued that other firefighters have been ordered to complete similar drives in the Columbus Day parade, the Purim parade, and others.

Justice Maureen McKenna compared the firefighters’ arguments to their line of work, pointing out that if they were called to extinguish a fire in a temple or a mosque, they would be compelled to do so.

The AP reports that Mayor Cianci was forced from office in 2002 after being convicted of corruption, and the suit only “coincidentally” coincides with his current campaign to win back city hall. He told reporters outside the courthouse that he would make the same decision again if reelected.

Photo: Javier Soriano