Bias Complaint Filed Against Pride
LGBT unrest over the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee’s controversial selection and retraction of imprisoned Army Private First Class Bradley Manning as a Pride grand marshal has now escalated to the legal arena with a complaint to the San Francisco Human Rights Commission.
In a six-page filing prepared by local gay attorney and District 8 resident David Waggoner, 38, nearly 30 signatories initiated a Complaint of Unlawful Discrimination against the San Francisco Pride board of directors with the HRC on May 7.
Former parade grand marshals Gabriel Haaland and Gary Virginia, and Swords to Ploughshares staff attorney Becca Von Behren were among the 21 individuals who signed on to the complaint. [Full disclosure: attorney Paul Melbostad, who serves as the Bay Area Reporter ’s legal counsel, also signed the complaint.]
Among the five organizations to endorse the complaint are the Bay Area Military Law Panel and the Military Law Task Force of the National Lawyers Guild.
The complaint said the board had "repudiated San Francisco Pride’s electoral college’s selection of Bradley Manning as a 2013 grand marshal for the Pride parade." This action violated city administrative codes, arts funding guidelines, board marshal selection policy, and board non-discrimination policy, the complaint charged.
"Pride is subject to the city’s non-discrimination laws because it receives city funding," Waggoner said in an email. He confirmed to the B.A.R. that the complaint had been officially filed with the HRC with copies emailed to Pride officials.
"If SF Pride reverses its decision [on Manning], the complaint will be withdrawn," said Waggoner, a former president of the Harvey Milk LGBT Democratic Club.