Corrections Department Reverses Decision, Allows Gay Officer to March in Uniform During Parade

By Scott Weber
|  Wednesday, Jun 8, 2011  |  Updated 12:41 PM PDT
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Gay Officer Allowed to March in Uniform

Corrections Officer Andrew Johnson, who has worked at the California Institution for Women in Chino since 2006, filed a charge of sexual orientation discrimination through his attorney, Gloria Allred, after he was not allowed to wear his uniform during West Hollywood's gay pride parade.

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A gay California Corrections officer won the right to march in uniform during Sunday's West Hollywood gay pride parade after filing a discrimination complaint.

Corrections Officer Andrew Johnson, who has worked at the California Institution for Women in Chino since 2006, filed a charge of sexual orientation discrimination through his attorney, Gloria Allred.

In May, officer Johnson, who is a member of the Gay Peace Officers Association, made a written request to march in uniform with other gay law enforcement. But, according to Allred,  his request was denied by Warden Guillermo G. Garcia.

Johnson was told that his participation in the parade would be against California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation's operation manual which prohibits employees wearing uniforms who might be engaged in "inappropriate" activities or activities that would "bring discredit" to the department.

Allred said it was "shocking and disturbing" that a branch of the state of California would consider marching in the West Hollywood parade a "discredit" to the CDCR.

In response, the CDCR issued a statement reversing Warden Garcia's decision and allowed officer Johnson to wear his uniform.

In a statement, the CDCR said it "did not intend to offend any segment of the population" and acknowledges that its operation manual was "outdated and requires careful revision."

The CDCR went on to say it "embraces the diversity of the people of California" and that it understands its "responsibility to ensure that its officers and staff treat all Californians equally and encourages cultural awareness of the many facets of our state’s society."

The California Fair Employment and Housing Act prohibits any employer from engaging in discrimination based on sexual orientation.

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