Four San Diego firefighters return to court Friday to defend their right to abstain from participating in the city's annual Gay Pride Parade.
Three years ago, the four men refused to attend the event and filed a lawsuit against the city in San Diego County Superior Court. They accused the city of sexual harassment and violating their freedom of speech.
In 2009, a jury found that the city should not have forced the firefighters to participate in San Diego's 2007 Gay Pride Parade. The city is now appealing the verdict.
"Government employees should never be forced to participate in events or acts that violate their sincerely held beliefs," said Alliance Defense Fund attorney Charles S. LiMandri, who is representing the firefighters.
"Advocates of homosexual behavior want to disregard a jury that represents the voice of the community," said ADF Senior Counsel Joseph Infranco, who is co-counsel in the case.
"Instead of admitting its mistake, the city is relentlessly advancing an agenda that compels people to participate in sexually-charged events against their moral and personal convictions," he said.
The city of San Diego has sponsored the annual gay parade for over 15 years.