Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Rhode Island Supreme Court Rejects Firefighters' Objections To Riding In Pride Parade

In Fabrizio v. City of Providence, (RI Sup. Ct., Dec. 19, 2014), the Rhode Island Supreme Court dismissed a suit brought by two Catholic firefighters who objected on religious grounds to serving as part of the crew on a fire engine in a gay pride parade. They contended that "their beliefs as Catholics do not allow them to “support, encourage, nor condone homosexual behavior.'" The Court said, however:
The respondents' appearance in the parade, solely as members of the Providence Fire Department, did not constitute a form of expression on their part. Rather, it was simply the accomplishing of a task assigned to an engine company of the Providence Fire Department, and the individuals chosen to carry out that assignment cannot be said to have engaged in personal speech by carrying out their work as public servants.
Courthouse News Service reports on the decision.