Department Backs Down, Officer Can March in Parade

By Lucas Grindley

Originally published on Advocate.com June 08 2011 8:15 AM ET

All it took was a press conference and the specter of a discrimination complaint, and the police officer who was barred earlier this week from a gay pride parade is now free to march.

Correctional officer Andrew Johnson had asked for permission to wear his uniform while marching in the upcoming West Hollywood gay pride parade and was told in writing that it would be a “discredit” to his department. But after calling a news conference on Tuesday with high-profile lawyer Gloria Allred by his side, and with the story picked up by media outlets (including this one), the decision was reversed and the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation issued an apology.

“CDCR did not intend to offend any segment of the population with its recent refusal,” the statement reads. “CDCR apologizes to Officer Johnson and any Californian who may have been offended by the original decision.”

The restrictive first ruling was blamed on an unclear rulebook.

“The decision was made solely on an interpretation of an admittedly ambiguous section of the Department Operation Manual,” according to the statement released Tuesday. “Upon review, CDCR acknowledges that the DOM is outdated and requires careful revision.”

The parade will be held Sunday.