Four San Diego firefighters have won a sexual harassment suit based on a claim that being ordered to represent the department by participating in a gay pride parade led to catcalls directed at them and their being forced to watch gay men simulate sex acts. It's a verdict that trivializes the kind of at-work quasi-terrorism that can constitute sexual harassment, but also one that illustrates the danger of how easily sexual stigma can be manipulated.
The San Diego story is a small battle in an ongoing sex/gender/culture war, not only in the broader society, but also doubtless in this particular fire department, where the chief, Tracy Jarman, is openly lesbian. Jarman did not order the group to participate after they objected, so the suit was not directly aimed at her. But it's hard to believe that the four guys who brought this suit feel really comfortable with a gay female boss.
The case represents the danger from open-ended sexual harassment law, creating an invitation for suits such as this one, which Harvard Law School Professor Janet Halley described as "sexuality harassment" litigation. The sexualized nature of the harm is used to magnify an unimportant event into a serious injury. In effect, sexual harassment law is being used here to recuperate the idea behind the old gay panic defense to assault or even murder, that extreme over-reaction to same-sex sexual propositions (or in this case, simply speech) is justifiable. It's a double standard with a vengeance.