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San Diego jury mulling firefighter-gay pride parade case

A Superior Court jury of eight women and four men resumes deliberations today in the retrial of a civil suit filed against the city of San Diego by four firefighters who allege they were sexually harassed while driving a fire truck in the 2007 gay pride parade.

The four say they were ordered to drive the truck by their superiors over their protests that other firefighters in the parade had been harassed in previous years. In October, a jury deliberated for four days without reaching a verdict. During the first trial, the firefighters' attorney asked the jury to award each of the four between $500,000 and $1 million in damages.

The city attorney's office, defending the city, has dismissed the firefighters' assertion that they have suffered lasting harm because of the 90-minute parade. Fire Chief Tracy Jarman, who is a lesbian, later changed the city policy to allow firefighters to opt out of the parade.

-- Tony Perry

 
Comments () | Archives (5)

I do wish this article would give us a little more information. What sort of alleged sexual harassment did these firefighters report? If it was merely that they're uncomfortable around gays and lesbians, then the change in policy should be enough. (There is a widespread - and logical - assumption that anyone participating in a gay pride event is comfortable with members of their own sex expressing interest in them.) If there was actual sexual harassment going on, then charges should be filed against both the people who did the harassing and the superiors who ordered the firefighters to participate.

Hmm, pretty foolish of the city to MAKE anyone participate in such a parade. I don't know what the policy was before they changed it, but if they couldn't find firefighters who wanted to do it then they shouldn't have put a truck in it. On the one hand, I have to agree with the city attorney's office that I doubt the men "suffered lasting harm," but on the other, would that stand up against any other kind of workplace sexual harassment accusation? In any other case, it'd be unconscionable to say, "Aw, it's all harmless fun, what're you complaining about?" Yes, it's just a light-hearted parade, but for people receiving unwanted sexual advances it's a hostile work environment and the city should've forseen that. Now taxpayers will pay for it...ugh.

I don't think that these men know what sexual harrassment is. It's making a joke out of actual harrassment that people go through (normally women).
This just seems like a bunch of men that are assuming that the whole crowd wants them. And if they're in a fire truck, then the most that can happen is maybe a bunch of cat-calls. Get over it. Women have to start learning how to deal with that kind of stuff by the time they are 13.
If I could sue for every time I was in an uncomfortable situation where guys were looking at me, then I'd be rich. (But it's at work!) Oh, yeah. Like women never come across that at work and have to let it go. Whatever.

There are some pretty stupid comments on here. Two men being forced to be in a parade on there own time, representing something they are particularly part of, and being railroaded by a lesbian fire chief, and some of you can't see the harassment? You must bust be "bone dumb" or a homosexual bigot.

Can you imagine what would happen in our imperfect, liberal, misguided courts if two lesbians were forced to participate in a heterosexual activity celebrating heterosexual marriage? The so-called media would blast those people into oblivion.

And then there is the stupid post about women. What a dimwit! Women sue over the slightest innuendo all the time, and get away with it. Just one more example of how tough it is to be a caucasian male in the U.S. today. Anyone can say or do anything to a caucasian male, but no one will do anything about it. Say one word to a homosexual, a female, or a so-called minority--just one word, and see what happens. Force any of them to do anything on their own time, against their will, and see what happens.

I can only imagine these lame-brained comments come from the protected ones who hate anyone who isn't like them.

I do wish there was some more understanding of the "sexual harrassment" that ensued. I doubt it was anything more than just guys whistling at the firemen. They participated in the parade so I think the only question is whether they were forced to be in the parade, something i seriously doubt.

To Ross: You dont know what you are talking about. Gay people are forced to try and fit in to a straight world every day of their lives. Lesbians attend heterosexual weddings and participate in them and no one claims that to be a form of unfair treatment or sexual harrassment. Just what heterosexual activity are you trying to say? Just about every activity is heterosexual.


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L.A. Now is the Los Angeles Times’ breaking news section for Southern California. It is produced by more than 80 reporters and editors in The Times’ Metro section, reporting from the paper’s downtown Los Angeles headquarters as well as bureaus in Costa Mesa, Long Beach, San Diego, San Francisco, Sacramento, Riverside, Ventura and West Los Angeles.
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