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Columbia Overrides Police Chief On Gay Parade

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File photo of gay pride. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

File photo of gay pride. (Photo by Mario Tama/Getty Images)

COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Columbia officials have overridden a decision by interim police chief Ruben Santiago to order two officers to march in the South Carolina Gay Pride Parade even though they did not want to participate.

Santiago had ordered a lieutenant and sergeant to join eight other officers in last Saturday’s parade even though they cited religious beliefs in their opposition.

On the day of the parade, City Manager Teresa Wilson and her assistant met with Santiago and reached an agreement to make participation in the parade voluntary since there were then enough officers to march.

Santiago says the agreement included no disciplinary action for the officers, whose names were not released.

Wilson says the department’s participation in the parade was an important signal of the city’s commitment to inclusiveness.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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