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Firefighters Were Sexually Harassed at Pride Parade

A jury has determined that four San Diego firefighters were sexually harassed for being ordered to participate in a Gay Pride parade last year. It awarded the men combined damages of $34,000. The attorney for the firefighters, Charles LiMandri, said during his closing argument that the men were targets of vulgar gestures and lewd comments, while being forced to watch barely clothed men and women simulate sex acts and touch themselves and one another. This trial was the second for the firefighters, after an earlier trial in October failed to return a verdict. According to reports, the problem began after a volunteer crew pulled out shortly before the parade after the captain’s mother died. The plaintiffs argued that the department then assigned them to the parade against their objections. Deputy City Attorney Don Shanahan stated the firefighters weren’t satisfied after Chief Tracy Jarman apologized, promising to change the department’s policy, and use only volunteers in the parade.

Gay College Student Dismissed from ROTC

An openly gay freshman at George Washington University has been dismissed from the school’s Navy ROTC program because he is gay. The problems began last fall when Todd Belok kissed his boyfriend at a college party. Two fellow members of the ROTC program reported his actions to a superior. A month later, Belok was told he either would have to withdraw from the program or face a Performance Review Board (PRB). In October, the PRB dismissed him from his battalion, even though a university policy states that school-sponsored clubs cannot discriminate based on sexual orientation. Despite being dismissed from NROTC, Belok still hopes to someday serve his country in the military. He said, “I don’t have any resentment against my battalion or the Navy. After all, they just carried out a Defense Department policy. I cannot rejoin the Navy unless the current policy changes, and I’m focused on lobbying Congress to ensure that happens.”

Gay Immigration Bill Introduced

A bill has been introduced into both houses of Congress to allow a more humane immigration policy toward same-sex couples. The United American Families Act would allow the same-sex foreign partners of US citizens the same immigration opportunities currently provided to heterosexual couples. Similar legislation has been introduced in every session of Congress since 2000. Representative Jerry Nadler, who introduced the bill in the House, said in a press conference, “It should be an outrage to all Americans that our government continues to deny one set of citizens the fundamental rights enjoyed by the rest of its citizens. It is time that we as a society finally acknowledge that a committed, loving family is a committed, loving family, no matter whether a couple is gay or straight. It makes no difference.” According to Nadler, the bill has a fair chance of passing both houses this session, and President Barack Obama pledged to support the legislation during the campaign.

Poll Shows Half of New Jersey Voters Support Gay Marriage

According to a new Monmouth University/Gannett New Jersey Poll, 48 percent of New Jersey residents favor gay marriage, with only 43 percent opposed. The poll also showed that 50 percent oppose amending the state constitution to ban gay marriage, with 41 percent favoring such a ban. New Jersey residents already can form same-sex civil unions that offer the legal protections of marriage.

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