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Judge rules against Atlanta fire chief who distributed homophobic book

Judge rules against Atlanta fire chief who distributed homophobic book

Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran

A United States District Court Judge denied an Atlanta fire chief’s lawsuit after the city fired him for distributing a homophobic book at work.

In 2015, Kelvin Cochran handed out his faith-based book titled Who Told You That You Were Naked? to subordinates. In the book, he equates homosexuality to bestiality.

On 6 January 2015, he was fired following a 30-day suspension without pay.

Cochran filed a lawsuit against Atlanta challenging the termination.

On Wednesday (20 December), Judge Leigh Martin May partly ruled against Cochran. She denied him a win on the basis of his freedom of speech, association, and religion claims.

‘Although plaintiff contends that the book was addressed to Christian men, the book was disseminated by a supervisor at the workplace — as opposed to completely off campus — and was even distributed unsolicited to at least three individuals,’ she wrote in her decision.

‘At least one such employee felt the subject matter of the book was sufficiently concerning such that he gave the book to the union president, and the union president then disseminated it more broadly to city officials.’

She further found there was sufficient reason to fire him because he ‘exposed the City to hostile work environment liability’.

However, May found for Cochran in one regard.

She determined that the city’s claim Cochran needed to obtain authorization to distribute his book was unconstitutional. She made this decision on the basis of prior restraint, also known as prior censorship.