The Houston Police Department will allow gay and lesbian officers to march in uniform in the city’s Pride parade this June. HPD Chief Charles McClelland made the decision at the request of openly lesbian Mayor Annise Parker, KIAH-TV 39 reports in the video above. While this isn’t the first time gay officers have marched in the Pride parade, the right-wing Houston Area Pastor Council is objecting:
“Putting the city’s stamp of approval with our law enforcement officers, on a lifestyle that’s highly controversial and very contentious as a public issue, is something we don’t think is very wise,” said Dave Welch, executive director of the Houston Area Pastor Council.
Police have been allowed to march in the Gay Pride Parade before. But now, with an openly gay mayor, it’s an issue of increasing concern for some religious groups.
“We don’t think it represents the values of the City of Houston,” said Welch.
However, the Rice study does suggests those values are shifting. Meanwhile, gay rights advocates like Banks believe they still have a long way to go.
“We’re actually still the only major city in Texas? that doesn’t have an ordinance preventing discrimination based on sexual orientation,” said Banks.
While police can wear uniforms to march in the parade, they must use personal time to march. The police union said HPD has between 300 and 500 gay or lesbian officers.
The estimate of 300 to 500 gay and lesbian HPD officers seems pretty outrageous. I’m assuming this is a statistical calculation as opposed to a reflection of how many officers are out. Even so, it seems high. By the way, we’re not aware of gay and lesbian officers ever marching in uniform in a Pride parade in Dallas. Part of the reason is that there’s only been one out DPD officer at any given time — the LGBT community liaison officer.