Issue:  Vol. 48 / No. 3 / 18 January 2018

Lawsuits ask for 2016 SF Pride party to be called off

Anthony Wayne channels Sylvester on the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee float in 2015. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Anthony Wayne channels Sylvester on the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee float in 2015. Photo: Rick Gerharter

Lawsuits filed Wednesday against organizers of San Francisco’s LGBT Pride parade and celebration seek an injunction that would prevent this year’s party from taking place, according to Mary Sanks, a spokeswoman for Rosenfeld, Meyer, and Susman, the Beverly Hills-based law firm representing the plaintiffs. The parade would still be able to happen. The Pride parade and celebration are set to take place June 25-26.

The lawsuits were brought by a man who was shot near last year’s celebration, along with two other people who Sanks says were injured in gun violence.

In a news release announcing the lawsuits, Sanks says her firm’s presenting evidence that the San Francisco LGBT Pride Celebration Committee has admitted to being “negligent” and holding events “in an unsafe and injurious manner.”

Documents also show that the San Francisco Police Department concluded the Pride celebration “could not safely be held, and the entity that holds the event summarily ignored” recommendations from the department “year after year,” according Sanks.

In a news release, Sam Singer – a communications strategist often hired by organizations facing controversy – said the injunction attempt “is without legal merit and will most likely be rejected by the court.”

George Ridgely, the committee’s executive director, stated, “The threatened injunction is meant to intimidate our organization and would have a massive and long- term negative impact on the LGBTQIA community of San Francisco. We will not be bullied by false claims and strongly believe the court will see this action for what it is.”
The news release also said Pride organizers work “closely and in partnership with the San Francisco Police Department, as well as private security and crowd control staff, so that all participants and spectators can enjoy a collective experience that is safe and enjoyable.”
The celebration is free, but there’s a suggested donation at the gate.  Proceeds from the festivities have resulted in over $2.5 million going to local nonprofits that work on issues ranging from HIV/AIDS to homelessness, and that funding “would be jeopardized” by the proposed injunction, Singer said.

Rosenfeld, Meyer, and Susman is the same firm that represented Trevor Gardner, a Los Angeles man who sued the Pride committee after he was shot at the 2013 festival. His case was settled earlier this year, but lawsuit by another man shot in 2013 is still pending.

The Bay Area Reporter will have more on this story in the Thursday, May 26 edition.


— Seth Hemmelgarn, May 19, 2016 @ 9:29 am PST
Filed under: Uncategorized

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