Salt Lake City Police Officer Who Didn’t Want Gay Pride Parade Assignment Resigns

Salt lake city

The Salt Lake City police officer put on administrative leave after the SLCPD said he refused his assignment at the city’s gay pride parade last weekend has now resigned, The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

The officer, whose identity has not been released, reportedly cited religious convictions in asking for reassignment rather than participating directly in the parade — an act he saw as an endorsement of last Sunday’s Utah Pride Parade.

His lawyer, Bret Rawson, said the officer did not — as initially indicated by SLCPD officials — refuse the [motorcycle] assignment, and would have ridden in the parade had he been ordered to do so.

"My client has made it clear to SLCPD that he is not returning," Rawson said Tuesday. "He feels he has been subjected to needless ridicule by the department for merely expressing a desire to work the parade without participating in the parade.

The Salt Lake City Police Department declined to provide further comment on the situation or any pending litigation.

GallagherWhen the initial story broke about the SLCPD indicating that a police officer had flat-out refused to work at Gay Pride, Maggie Gallagher blasted the cop, writing: "Religious liberty should not extend to a cop refusing to protect Gay Pride parade-goers — that is just wrong."

With these new developments that the cop may have only been asking for a less conspicuous assignment at Pride, however, Gallagher clarified her views:

I do not think cops have a right to refuse to serve and protect gay people or gay institutions, but if government can punish you for merely asking for an accommodation, we are in serious trouble. 

I trusted the police department as a reliable source (my biases showing!), but if the cop’s story is true, he has a number of serious legal claims, from the First Amendment to defamation of character.

What are your own thoughts on the case? Do you think, like Rawson, that the SLCPD gave a "knee-jerk reaction" to the officer's concerns by immediately putting him on administrative leave?


  1. Jexer says

    As a copy, duty comes first, not politics, religion or other kinds of ideology. If he can’t be impartial in this assignment, then he likely can’t perform his other duties objectively either. Good riddance.

  2. Kurtis Edwards says

    Complicated scenario. At one end, if I were told I have to be an usher on stage for a republican convention I would not do it. I would ask to do something else w/o a flat denial. So, I have to say, if truthful, this guy did the right thing. He asked to be reassigned, even so far as stating he would gladly do security. He just didn’t want to be in the parade. I don’t agree with his beliefs, and I don’t believe in this spinning of religious freedom. But, if truthful, he acted respectfully. He acted how we wish the opposition would act; instead of hate and lies he used respect.

  3. Booker says

    Hmmm….looks like there’s going to be a lawsuit, so maybe best wait for more facts; but I find it hard to believe a cop would be suspended just for requesting a reassignment if he also made it clear he’d follow orders if the request wasn’t granted.

  4. FairlyCloseToYou says

    Even if the police officer wasn’t lying about the current narrative, it is NOT ok for a police officer to pussyfoot around and quibble;
    “I don’t agree with their lives so I’ll do this but not that, and I’ll do that but not this.”

    That is no way to run a police department of all things!

  5. Randy says

    I assume the Alliance Defending Freedom will be on this, and a court will ultimately bring the facts to light.

    There should be NO religious exemption to the laws, and that includes laws stating that officers follow orders. While you may ask for accommodation for the voices in your head (which, by the way, are indistinguishable from any other political opinion) there should be no realistic expectation to receive accommodation.

    Since the officer resigned, he has no case for being terminated for this. He might have a case for ridicule. As an employee, if you publicly hold an opinion such as opposition to equality — i.e. opposition to the public policy of the state and nation — the government ought to be able to ridicule you. But it’s not clear to me whether he made this opinion public, or the police did.

    Regardless, if the police lied about him, they should be charged with defamation. Law enforcement should not be above the law.

  6. Island Planet says

    A cop refusing to perform his duties as security at a parade is a lot different than a cop asking to not have to ride IN the parade. I always thought that the cops riding IN the parade are members/family/friends/allies of the community who also happen to be cops, military etc.

    So if the cop is being honest about what transpired – I’m on his side. Sadly, those who object to the gays for religious reasons are rarely honest about their motives or anything else.

  7. Bob K says

    “What are your own thoughts on the case? Do you think, like Rawson, that the SLCPD gave a “knee-jerk reaction” to the officer’s concerns by immediately putting him on administrative leave?”

    There is obviously more to the story, so speculation smacks of gossip to me. Sounds like the gossip reports on AOL.

  8. Gigi says

    Cops don’t get to pick & choose which jobs they’ll accept. This isn’t a salad bar. And how exactly was his character “defamed” the police department hasn’t released his name? 2 Corinthians 12:10 says, “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.” Why are Christians always crying about alleged persecution? According to the bible, they should welcome it as it brings them closer to Jesus.

  9. Bob K says


    “Mormons Building Bridges” is about keeping Gay mormons in the fold until, if ever, they might be accepted as full members and their relationships respected.
    Since they preach following the church, meaning no sex, no loving, be subjected to pushy attempts to become straight, the group ought to be called,

    “Mormons Digging a Moat Around Their Gays To Keep Them In”

    —– Folks, you CANNOT trust anything these people do. I smell that the group is alowed to exist because it will save loss of members and make the church look more accomodating

  10. Mark says

    he was being paid and was ON DUTY. the fact that he was uncomfortable with the duties assigned him show he is unfit to be a police officer, as he let his prejudices come before his assigned duty. how impartial is he going to be if responding to a gay bashing?

  11. Jon says

    If what the cop says is true (unbelievable as it may seem), then I think he was wronged. No employer has the right to order an employee to march in a parade; parades are clearly a public expression of support for a cause and as such a form of speech, covered by the first amendment. It certainly would have been reasonable for him to be assigned to work a security detail at the parade as that is in line with the expected duties of his job, but to order him to march in the actual parade is something else entirely.

  12. John Normile says

    I think there’s a breakthrough here everyone is missing, Maggie actually saw US as human beings deserving protection just like everyone else!

  13. Jack M says

    Maggie’s seeming, temporary support of civil rights in this case were due to a case of low blood sugar. She went to the ED and was given a dozen Krispy Kremes, and now she is back to her normal self again.

  14. BlahBlahBlah says

    If it is true that he was ordered to participate, i.e. march in the parade as opposed to police it then I think he should have had the right to ask for different duty. I certainly would not want to march in a parade organized by the Westboro Baptist Church but if I was a police officer I would have the obligation to “police” it.

  15. Bernie says

    Can’t some sympathetic gay man give poor Maggie a makeover or at least teach her how to use photo shop?!!?? Anyway, this is a police officer who invoked his religious beliefs to get another assignment rather than be around gay people….does this mean he would not protect a gay person from harm? This police officer will now become the new faux hero to the right wing and become like the baker in Colorado….

  16. ThomT says

    Oh my yet another victim of this cruel (and phony) war on Christians. Boo hoo, I don’t want to ride my motorcycle during the parade because that would look like a agreed with “that” lifestyle. This is a perfect example of why laws cannot be passed to allow people to decline service due to “strongly held religious beliefs”. Doing your job is NOT agreeing with, promoting, condoning, or in anyway approving of someone’s sexual orientation – it is simply DOING YOUR FREAKIN’ JOB.

  17. DJSauvage says

    As a gay man, I don’t want people marching in a pride parade that aren’t believers in gay pride and gay rights. If I feel some are there only because they are told to, but wouldn’t choose to, it undermines the value of pride.

Leave A Reply