Retrial of SD Firefighter Gay Pride Harassment Case Nears End

You may remember the San Diego firefighters who took the city to court claiming sexual harassment they say they suffered after being forced to participate in the city’s Gay Pride parade. The first trial ended in a mistrial:

Firefighterssandiegopride_2“In the first trial, the jurors split on the first question: Was the firefighter sexually harassed? They agreed only two were, but they couldn’t agree on the next question: Was the abuse severe or pervasive?”

Now, the San Diego Union Tribune reports, as the re-trial enters its final stages jurors are again faced with that question:

“Did the four firefighters, who were ordered to drive a city fire engine in the 2007 gay pride parade, encounter pervasive or severe harassment from parade spectators and participants? Each firefighter has taken the stand, and after nearly two weeks of courtroom testimony, two theories have emerged. City attorneys suggested that the men are homophobic and painted them as money-hungry opportunists who were uncomfortable but not victims of sexual harassment. The defense also said most of the firefighters’problems stemmed from taking their case to the news media and filing the lawsuit. The firefighters said that not only were they victimized during the parade, they also suffered headaches, anxiety, anger and other stress-related issues because of what they heard and saw: catcalls, insults, simulated sex acts, public nudity, and men touching themselves and each other.

“All four firefighters are married, and three have children. They have more than 45 years of combined experience with the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. All four testified last week that department supervisors ignored them when they said they didn’t want to be in the parade. ‘Nobody listened to us,’ Capt. Jason Hewitt testified Thursday.”

According to the paper, “The jury will be asked to answer about 10 questions, and at least nine of the jurors have to answer ‘yes’ to each question for the city to be held liable.”

The jury should have the case by Wednesday.


  1. says

    My heart bleeds for these poor victims. The put their manhood on the line and the city won’t protect them. They are oppressed and powerless in our society. It’s time we treat straight, white firefighters as a “suspect class” (like other minorities) and provide the supports that they so obviously need.

  2. SFshawn says

    What a waste of taxpayer dollars!
    It would be nice if these ‘family’ men actually started behaving like MEN instead of such cry babies and supposed victims. They are an embarrasement to firefighters everywhere and I certainly hope they all retire after the verdict comes in because they really have no place in serving the public if this is their attitude.

  3. Paul R says

    They really should be ashamed. But unless the prosecution managed to pack the jury with homophobes, I don’t see them winning this time either. Which probably means they’ll continue to appeal the case and waste even more time and money.

    Of course their problems stemmed from publicizing their woes and filing a lawsuit. They sound like morons.

  4. TANK says

    Terminate their employ. After this is over, they need to go, somehow. Any way possible, just get them out. They’re a blemish and a PR nightmare. Firefighters victimized…lol!

  5. says

    Get ready… they’ll win their “damages”. There’s NOTHING worse than a homosexual in today’s society, NOTHING. Murderers and Terrorists pale by comparison. Throw in “catcalls, insults, simulated sex acts, public nudity, and men touching themselves and each other” to this homophobic mix and the decision will be a resounding “YES!” to answer the fireflamer’s bogus claims of harassment and abuse.

    Let’s hope I’m wrong.

  6. jbrant says

    I guess the ladies touching each other were much more discreet as they are not described in the lawsuit. I wonder if i offended them by holding hands with my boyfriend of 14 years – is that considered touching each other? and does clapping count as touching yourself? i imagine this argument will be left without further detail, since I witnessed a very tame parade with more church groups marching than i had ever witnessed before.

  7. Wheezy says

    This is where I say something snarky about straight white fire-fighters complaining about sexual harassment when the “brotherhood” has been known to haze female and gay fire-fighters to the point where they’ve left their jobs….nah, too easy.

  8. David B. says

    when firefighters are called names and bashed in alleys — then I will side with them. Til then — nope!

    And why didn’t the department ask for volunteers == they have to have some flamers in that department – dontcha think?


  9. Mike says

    What if they had been called out to an emergency at a Gay Bar? Would they repsond? If they did, would they administer care and services to the patrons? If they were forced to, would they sue?

    Mary, please!

  10. hephaestion says

    WHO is the genius who sent 4 primo homophobes to a gay pride parade? What a fucking idiot! Surely he could have found some gay or gay-friendly firemen to drive that damn truck. Their supervisor must be a complete idiot.

  11. John in CA says

    Given that San Diego voted for Prop. 8 by huge margins, is anyone really surprised by the attitude? These firefighters will win. And they’ll win big.

    San Diego is basically an overgrown military town with good weather. It has the most conservative appellate court in California too. Those San Diego judges have never met a piece of gay rights legislation they didn’t want to declare unconstitutional. They tried to ban gay adoption. They ruled that state anti-discrimination law didn’t apply to country clubs. They also said anti-gay students have the right to wear “Silly Faggots, Sticks Are For Chicks” t-shirt.

    If it wasn’t for the California Supreme Court (which sits in San Francisco) having the final say, Southern California’s activist judges would’ve turned the state into an Anita Bryant wonderland of evangelical ignorance by now.

  12. rudy says

    Homophobic assholes (yeah, a redundancy). Unfortunately, they will probably win in the lower courts. Contrast these fools with the real men in the NYC fire department who, in addition to being the finest and the brave, love being flirted with and usually flirt back.

  13. DC Guy says

    I guess it’s fine, G-WHIZ, to be a homophobe in the privacy of your own home, but for a municipal worker at a paramilitary service, disobeying an order from a supervisor simply because one “feels uncomfortable” is downright asinine.

    Leaving aside the fact that gay SD’ers pay for firefighting just as much as their straight counterparts, these guys are public employees, and unless they’re asked to do something unsafe or illegal, they should salute, drive the truck, and shut up.

  14. MC Long Beach says

    What bothers me the most is the occurrence of a horrific fire or accident and these fools are sent to administer aid. I guarantee that these men will do as little as possible and use this lawsuit to back them up. They will not resuscitate the man stabbed in front of the gay bar for fear of looking gay or that he might catch a deadly disease. Worst yet, they will feel that they deserved what they got. There names should be posted in the local newspaper so the gay public knows who they are and God forbid they are sent to rescue anyone.

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