Andrew Johnson and attorney Gloria Allred
A gay correctional services officer has won the right to march in this weekend’s LA Pride Parade in uniform after his department initially barred him from doing so.
After submitting a written request to take part in the event, officer Andrew Johnson was told by his superiors in a letter that appearing at Pride in his uniform would “discredit” his department.
LA Pride described the refusal as “unconscionable” and noted that since 1993, “openly gay and lesbian peace officers from Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department, Los Angeles Police Department, California Highway Patrol and the FBI have enthusiastically participated in the LA Pride Parade”.
‘…did not intend to offend any segment of the population’
Johnson (29), represented by attorney Gloria Allred, filed a complaint and announced at a press conference that he intended to sue the State of California for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
The California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) responded swiftly, announcing that Johnson would indeed be allowed to march in uniform.
“CDCR did not intend to offend any segment of the population with its recent refusal to allow a correctional officer from participating in a Gay Pride Parade while wearing the department’s official uniform,” said the department in a statement.
It added: “CDCR acknowledges that [its policy] is outdated and requires careful revision. Therefore, Correctional Officer Andrew Johnson will be allowed to wear the CDCR uniform in the upcoming Gay Pride Parade…”
It is unclear if Johnson will still pursue his lawsuit.