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Gay Officer Can't Wear Uniform to LA Pride Parade

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By Stephanie Rabiner, Esq. on June 08, 2011 9:46 AM

After being denied the ability to march in his uniform, LA Pride Parade participant and California corrections officer Andrew Johnson is now filing suit against the State of California and the Department of Corrections, alleging that he is the victim of sexual orientation discrimination on the job.

According to written responses from his warden and another official, permitting him to wear his uniform at the gay pride parade would "discredit" the department.

The California Department of Corrections has a policy that prohibits corrections officers from wearing their uniform to events if doing so would discredit the department, reports the Daily News. Amongst listed examples are bars, casinos, nightclubs, political protests and picket lines.

After learning that police officers all over Los Angeles planned to march in the West Hollywood extravaganza, Andrew Johnson made a written request to his warden, asking if he could do the same, reports the Huffington Post.

He was denied, and received two memos that his attorney, Gloria Allred, claims state that wearing a corrections uniform to the LA Pride Parade would be a "discredit" to the Department, and thus is not permitted.

California is one of the few states that prohibit employers from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation. And while there is a potential argument that the LA Pride Parade is some sort of political event, it generally functions more as a cultural event given that it is a recognized and protected community within the state.

So, will the Department opt to allow Andrew Johnson to march in his uniform? LA Pride (parade and other events) is this weekend, so we'll have to wait and see.

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