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

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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?


Utah Cop Claims He Never Refused Gay Pride Assignment, Says Dept. ‘Defamed’ Him

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A Salt Lake City police officer who made headlines last week when his department announced he had been put on leave for refusing to work an assignment at the city's gay pride parade is claiming he did not refuse his assignment and that the department 'defamed' him and violated his constitutional rights.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports:

"He feels that the same protections that afford individuals to participate in a parade like we had yesterday, are the very constitutional protections that were not afforded to him," Bret Rawson, the officer’s attorney, said Monday. […]

Rawson said the officer did not refuse his assignment — to join other motorcycle officers in choreographed maneuvers at the beginning of the parade — but instead asked his commanders for a "less conspicuous" role at the parade, such as traffic enforcement or security.

"The officer simply felt that the level of participation required in the event could be perceived as endorsing or advocating in favor of the LGBTQ community, a position which made him uncomfortable, given his personal and religious beliefs," Rawson wrote.

"He never refused to do his job," Rawson added in an interview Monday. "He specified that if he was required to do [the motorcycle assignment], he would do that. So he was very surprised that he was put on administrative leave."

Rawson said that the “media circus” surrounding the officer's leave amounts to “constructive termination,” adding: “No reasonable, rational person could stay at work under these circumstances.”

Citing pending litigation, a Salt Lake City spokesman said they were unable to comment on the validity of the officer’s claims.

And in related news, Maggie Gallagher has also weighed in on the controversy, but not in the way you might expect.

Maggie gallagherShe writes:

"Religious liberty should not extend to a cop refusing to protect Gay Pride parade-goers — that is just wrong.

UPDATE: Charles Cooke and I agree. Cops need to protect everybody, including Gay Pride parade-goers."

In a second post, she adds:

He says he was willing to serve at the Gay Pride parade but didn’t want to ride in front of the parade as he feared it might be interpreted as being a participant.

They could have cut the guy a break, instead of throwing the book, but the main point still stands: There’s no right not to serve at parades or political gatherings you disagree with.

Hell has just frozen over folks...


Salt Lake City Police Officer Placed on Leave After Refusing to Work At Gay Pride Parade: VIDEO

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An officer with the Salt Lake City Police Department has been put on paid administrative leave after reportedly refusing an assignment at this weekend’s gay pride parade, KSL News reports:

"We don't tolerate bias and bigotry in the department, and assignments are assignments," said department spokeswoman Lara Jones.

The officer is on paid administrative leave as the internal affairs unit reviews the situation, Jones said. He had been given a traffic control and public safety assignment.

The department has provided services at the Utah Pride Festival since its inception, as well as a host of other community events.

"We serve a variety of community events with similar functions, and to allow personal opinion to enter into whether an officer will take a post is not something that can be tolerated in a police department," Jones said.

Added executive director of the Utah Pride Center Steven Ha:

“Clearly the officer’s act was more than just smelling of bigotry, but I think the act was bigotry, choosing to not do a duty that is sworn by police officers to do,”

Check out a FOX 13 news report on the story, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Salt Lake City Police Officer Placed on Leave After Refusing to Work At Gay Pride Parade: VIDEO" »


Utah Theatre Director Zaps Homophobic Patron Upset Over Gay Kiss in Play: VIDEO

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Chris Lino — the managing director of The Pioneer Theater Company on the campus of the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah — recently staged a production of the comedic thriller Deathtrap during which (SPOILER ALERT) one character kisses another of the same gender on the cheek for all of three to four seconds.

The kiss was enough to send one audience member into full-blown histrionics, and she sent Lino the following letter:

Chris [Lino, Managing Director],

I trusted you! I have been a season ticket holder for 10 years and in the past have appreciated the quality of the acting and set design. I love the theatre and have taken my children to the theatre in hopes that they too will love it and continue to support the ARTS.

Pioneer_theatre_companyI am normally calm, mild-mannered, and don’t get upset, but last night, at the close of the first act of Deathtrap, I was infuriated with the explicit, homosexual display on stage because I had brought my teenage son to see the seemingly innocuous play. I based my decision to take my teenage son upon the content advisory you provided. In the past, I have appreciated the content advisories, and I have relied upon them to make attendance decisions. I realize that, unfortunately, you feel you must appeal to an insignificant minority of patrons by offering “edgy” material. I regret that you feel that way. I have wasted many tickets the last two years by choosing NOT to attend plays that were offensive and vulgar.

Because I relied on the content advisory, I am infuriated this evening. I felt compelled to walk out immediately, but had been taught etiquette as a child (my seat is [REDACTED]). It took all of my self control as I fumed in my seat for the long minute before intermission. Why was brazen homosexual content not included in the advisory?

As I left at intermission, I talked to your employees in the ticket booth asking for upper management, but you were not available. When I inquired as to why that content was left out of the advisory I was told that it would “ruin the plot.” Ruin the plot?! You ruined my evening, ruined my trust in you, and you ruined the trust my son has in me to find worthwhile entertainment for him. I feel sick about tonight.

I am appalled that you could not have simply stated: homosexual content. I have NEVER been so disgusted and infuriated! I was livid. I know your ticket sales clerk and manager are not responsible, and they handled the situation well. I had read and reread the content advisory to make sure it would be suitable to have my teenage son attend. I anticipated that he would appreciate the suspense, intrigue, plot twists, and mystery. The decision on the theatre’s part not to divulge repulsive content was irresponsible and negligent! You have that responsibility to your patrons.

Please refund my money for this last evening’s performance as well as Sweet Charity as we will not be using our tickets. Thank you in advance. My real desire is that you could erase the images in my son’s mind and in mine. Please send my refund to: [REDACTED]

I hope my feedback will prompt you to include ALL potentially offensive content in the advisory in the future!

Read Lino’s excellent response and a report for SLC FOX13, AFTER THE JUMP…

Continue reading "Utah Theatre Director Zaps Homophobic Patron Upset Over Gay Kiss in Play: VIDEO" »


Plaintiffs in Legal Challenge to Utah's Gay Marriage Ban Get Engaged: VIDEO

Kitchen

Derek Kitchen and Moudi Sbeity, the plaintiffs in Kitchen v. Herbert, the legal challenge to Utah's ban on same-sex marriage which is now before the 10th Circuit, got engaged over the weekend at the Equality Ball held at the Hotel Monaco in Salt Lake City.

Watch the charming moment, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Continue reading "Plaintiffs in Legal Challenge to Utah's Gay Marriage Ban Get Engaged: VIDEO" »


75 Couples Still In Line To Get A Marriage License In Salt Lake City

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As Alex Cabrero from KSL news reports, there are still 75 couples in line to receive marriage licenses in Salt Lake City today. However, a cut-off has already been imposed. Sheriff's have arrived to demarcate the cut-off point as people continue to arrive despite the fact that the clerks office closed at 5. 

Check out two more photos of the crowds that have shown up to say "I do" AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "75 Couples Still In Line To Get A Marriage License In Salt Lake City " »


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