At the Salt Lake Police Department, the only thing officers are handcuffing is freedom. Like most Americans, Eric Moutsos never dreamed that his faith would cost him his job. But that’s exactly what happened last summer after the long-time policeman asked for a different post at the city’s gay pride event.
He was asked, along with other members of the team, to lead the motorcycle brigade at the very front of the parade. Moutsos said he “felt uncomfortable doing what he considered celebratory circles with other motorcycles leading the parade because of his religious views” and asked to be placed somewhere else at the event. “It is unquestionably my duty as a police officer to protect everyone’s right to hold a parade or other event, but is it also my duty to celebrate everyone’s parade?” For that particular assignment, he explained, “It looks like we and I are in support of this parade. I said I would feel the same way if this was an abortion parade. I would feel the same way if it was a marijuana parade.”
Not once did he refuse to work the parade — yet in the middle of working out a compromise with his boss, he was suspended. The move absolutely blind-sided him. Shocked, the dad of four went home and told his family what happened. Almost immediately, the story broke that an unidentified member of the Salt Lake Police Department had been put on a leave of absence for “discrimination.”
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