Comments about ‘Officer placed on leave for refusing Utah Pride Parade assignment’

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Published: Friday, June 6 2014 3:20 p.m. MDT

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Houston, TX

This police officer wasn't assigned to protect citizens in the parade. He was assigned to march in the parade. I can fully understand why he wouldn't want to join in as a participant in the Gay Pride parade. The gay movement is turning our society upside down. He should no more be punished for this as for refusing to march in a Neo-Nazi parade. People have a right to live by their convictions.

And for all you gay folks that will say this is bigotry: There's nothing hateful about just staying home.

Northern Utahn
Northern, UT

This story doesn't say that he was assigned to march in the parade. What makes you think that?

Layton, UT

How do you know that he was assigned to march in the parade?

Provo, UT

Reading the article, there didn't appear to be any indication that the officer was asked to march as a participant in the parade. Three of the deputy police chiefs were asked to do so, but I didn't see anything that said that the officer had to do anything else than his job, providing security for the parade.

Personally, I think there is a strong case for firing the officer. What if he responded to a crime at the home of an LGBT couple? Would he refuse to assist? Would we tolerate an officer who for personal beliefs refused to assist a black family, a Jewish person, or a Muslim? Our police are tasked to protect and assist everyone and to enforce the law. There's nothing illegal about the LGBT parade.

Northern Utahn
Northern, UT

Are officers allowed to decline assignments on holidays, during religious events, etc? wbl2745 makes a great point, at what point does it become untenable for public SERVANTS to quit "serving" the people that are being forced to pay their salaries?

Redmond, WA

I applaud the officer for not wanting to be a part of this event. Gay pride parades have always been full of debauchery. They're obscene. The idea that a police officer must sign on to this marching grotesque display or they can't be a police officer, is a different type of obscenity. Maybe the SLC gay parade isn't as disgusting as other city's parades, I would hope not but I'm sure you'll be just as freaky as you want to be.

slc, ut

the guy should be fired...what if he refuses to help a minority or someone/something else he has an issue with....the guy needs to go

Fair Oaks, CA

This "man" signed up to "Protect and Serve" ALL citizens.

Can anyone on the force refuse to defend and protect the 47 parade as well?

It makes me certainly wonder just how he deals with crimes against gay people.

The poor thing is just too sensitive to deal with actual gay people?

Houston, TX

"Members of the Salt Lake City Police Department have marched in past Utah Pride parades, including Chief Chris Burbank who marched last year."

The officer was being asked to march, not protect. It is obvious.

Murray, Utah

The 2nd half of the article certainly suggests that this refusal was related to marching in the parade. I believe that marching in the parade and providing security for it are separate matters. If it was a security assignment, I believe there should be no room for refusal. If it's an assignment to march, I think there should be room for personal opinion.

Eagle Mountain, UT

I agree that the article is unclear as to whether he was asked to march in the parade or to provide security or some other service that the police offer to parades (such as blocking off the street). If he was asked to march, he should have the right to refuse to do so if he disagrees with the cause of the parade. If he was asked to provide security or some other service that is part of his job, he was way off base in not doing so. As a police officer he has the duty to serve and protect everybody in his jurisdiction as assigned by his superiors. Even those he doesn't agree with.

university place, WA

After reading the story I don't know if the offending officer was assigned a "post" (the articles word, not mine) as part of a standard security detail or as a member of the parade. It makes a difference and the DN really should provide some clarity.

Hampstead, MD

For those who say he should be forced to march as a representative of the organizational support for an issue he is opposed to (NOT part of any civil servants's job description), please re-post, stating your support for Chick Fil-a forcing any of its gay employees to be in a campaign espousing its corporate support of traditional, opposite-sex marriage. A sincere and heartfelt oath to protect and to serve is NOT the same as saying I will support your lifestyle. Cops make the majority of their living risking their lives for people they are morally at odds with.

Keaau, HI

Since we are not his judge or jury and do not have all the facts, I fully support a persons freedom to stand for his/her own convictions without prosecution as long as it does not infringe on any other individual's rights of freedom. The parade will go on without this officer and I'm sure he must have a day off coming that perhaps he could trade for the one he is taking during the parade.
Why must we make a federal case about it just because he decided not to work during a Gay Parade? Would the same amount of people be 'belly-aching' if he refused to work during a Pioneer day parade?

Sasha Pachev
Provo, UT

When I worked for a Swedish company as a database server developer/support engineer they respected my right to not provide support for adult sites due to my religious convictions. I think America can do better than Sweden in terms of religious liberty.

Salt Lake City, UT

The third paragraph of the article includes this sentence: "He had been given a traffic control and public safety assignment."

The officer was not asked to march in the pride parade or to work the recruitment booth at the festival. As with any sizable public festival in the city, officers are recruited to help manage traffic and general safety. The parade has 120 entries the streets downtown are going to be lined by tens of thousands of people.

The details in the article about officers participating in the parade and festival were included to demonstrate the city police force is supportive of the gay community.

Pepin, WI

The issue for this officer was not providing protection for the parade but was being in the parade. Big difference.

Cleveland , OH

The beginning of the article clearly said, "The officer is on paid administrative leave as the internal affairs unit reviews the situation, Jones said. He had been given a traffic control and public safety assignment."

He was not marching. He was assigned to do traffic control and Public Safety.

The article also described the police chief marching last year, and other members of the department marching this year. That was a statement that the department supports equal rights for all citizens, not just some.

Representatives of the Police Department marching – or riding a police car or whatever – in a parade is about connection with citizens. Would everybody be defending a Baptist police officer who refused to provide security at the days of 47 parade? Or who had refused to march, as a representative of the Police Department, in that parade?

Pepin, WI

Stormwalker, I know what the article "says" but the officer was not merely providing traffic control and public safety. He was asked to do something more than that that he or she didn't feel comfortable with. Providing safety and protection once again was not the issue. I recognize that people are commenting on only what information they have in the article but as in most cases the media does not have all the facts here. Nor is the police department divulging all the specifics of the case.

Salt Lake City, UT

@Sasha Pachev

You must be kidding? America do better than Sweden in protecting religious liberties? America has become corrupt and has lost much of it's moral compass. American used to be great because it was good, no longer. This police officer could have been given a different assignment if in fact he was asked to march in the parade in respect of his convictions. My family and I were at the Salt Lake Arts festival a few years ago and there were so many gay people there (many of whom were running around basically nude and flaunting their perversion to the point that it was disgusting). I wouldn't expect a gay police officer to be forced to march in a Catholic or Mormon parade if it was against their convictions to do so. An assignment to provide security at the event is a different story however.

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