Rhode Island Supreme Court Throws Out Firefighters’ Lawsuit Over Driving In Gay Pride Parade

In 2004, Providence firefighters Theodore Fabrizio and Stephen Deninno filed suit against the city of Providence, Rhode Island, for being assigned to drive a fire truck during an annual gay pride parade in 2001.

The men sued saying their constitutional rights were violated arguing that as practicing Roman Catholics they did not “support, encourage,nor condone homosexual behavior.”

Today, the Rhode Island Supreme Court issued their ruling.

Writing for the entire court, Justice William Robinson III called driving a fire truck in a parade a “legitimate work assignment” and said as public servants they were “relatively anonymous.”

“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,” Robinson wrote.