City of Atlanta Agrees to Pay $1.2 Million Settlement to Former Fire Chief Who Wrote Book Critical of Homosexuality

Kelvin Cochran, a Christian, was a fire chief in Atlanta and a former member of the Obama administration. He wrote and self-published a devotional book for men that mentioned the sin of homosexuality.

Cochran wrote what is true and what the Bible teaches: homosexuality, pedophilia, and bestiality are sexual perversions. He said he handed out books to co-workers who asked for copies, but some firefighters complained about the book.

Kasim Reed, former mayor of the city, suspended Cochran for a month without pay and opened an investigation to determine whether he violated city policies. He claimed the suspension was because Cochran was insubordinate, but Cochran and others believe his religious beliefs were the issue.

Reed eventually fired Cochran.

The former fire chief sued the city, and a federal court sided with Atlanta. Cochran’s termination was justified, according to the court, because the book was handed out by a supervisor in the workplace. The court contended that it was “not unreasonable for the city to fear” his views might cause “public erosion of trust in the fire department.”

The court, however, agreed with Cochran that the city’s rule requiring government employees to get government approval before publishing books (which Cochran obtained) was unconstitutional.

Despite what he went through, Cochran has a reason to celebrate. On Monday, the Atlanta city council voted to pay him a settlement of $1.2 million based on the court’s determination that the city’s rule was unconstitutional.

From Cochran’s legal counsel, Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF):

“The government can’t force its employees to get its permission before they engage in free speech. It also can’t fire them for exercising that First Amendment freedom, causing them to lose both their freedom and their livelihoods,” said ADF Senior Counsel Kevin Theriot, who argued before the court on behalf of Cochran last year. “We are very pleased that the city is compensating Chief Cochran as it should, and we hope this will serve as a deterrent to any government that would trample upon the constitutionally protected freedoms of its public servants.”

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One comment

  1. Hurrah for Kelvin Cochran! I am so happy to hear that he has been compensated!