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Corrections department folds, will allow gay officer to march in pride parade

Corrections department folds, will allow gay officer to march in pride parade

Just hours after a gay correctional officer in Southern California announced he would take legal action for being prohibited from marching in uniform in a gay pride parade, the Department of Corrections reversed its decision, reported TMZ.

Responding to a complaint from Andrew Johnson, a corrections officer at the California Institution for Women in Chino, and his attorney Gloria Allred, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) issued a statement Tuesday afternoon, stating that going forward, corrections officers will be allowed to march in uniform at pride events.

Andrew Johnson (Left) and Gloria Allred

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. The decision was made solely on an interpretation of an admittedly ambiguous section of the Department Operation Manual (DOM) as it relates to unauthorized use of the CDCR uniform.

Upon review, CDCR acknowledges that the DOM is outdated and requires careful revision.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 in Los Angeles on June 12, 2011. CDCR
apologizes to Officer Johnson and any Californian who may have been offended by the original decision.

Johnson, a member of the Gay Peace Officers Association, had asked his superiors at the Department of Corrections for permission to march in uniform at West Hollywood’s pride event on Sunday, but was told he couldn’t do it because of a law that prohibits officers from marching in uniform if it would bring “discredit” to the department.

At a news conference Tuesday morning, Allred said that other law enforcement agencies — including the Los Angeles Police Department, L.A. County Sheriff’s Department and the California Highway Patrol — allow officers to march in uniform in the parade.

Allred told reporters she had filed a complaint with the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing, alleging discrimination based on sexual orientation.

She pointed out that Department of Corrections allows officers to march in uniform in other parades, including the annual Carrot Festival.

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