Four San Diego fire fighters who claim that they were sexually harassed at a gay pride event began their court case yesterday.

Their lawyer Charles Limandri said that the fire fighters should receive at least $1 million (£552,550) in compensation.

Mr Limandri said that his clients felt “humiliated, demoralised, abandoned and persecuted” at the event.

John Ghiotto, Jason Hewitt, Alex Kane and Chad Allison claim that they were subjected to hostile language and sexually explicit acts as they followed an order to attend the pride parade.

In statements filed with the state, the fire fighters said that along the parade route, they were subjected to offensive and lewd comments such as “you can put out my fire,” and saw men blowing kisses at them.

Then, they said, they had to endure protesters who yelled at them that homosexuality was a sin, according to San Diego newspaper, the Union Tribune.

“I was forced into a situation that would compromise what I hold true and what I believe in,” engineer Jason Hewitt said in a statement, according to 10news.com.

Maria Severson, Chief Deputy City Attorney, said that the city authorities must treat all people equally, and that it was part of the fire fighters’ jobs to be present at the parade.

Ms Severson said that there had been no other complaints that the event had created a hostile environment, and even claimed that the fire fighters had been treated like “rock stars” for most of their time there.

She also claimed that the complaint of sexual harassment was void as the fire fighters had not been physically touched or threatened with such treatment.

The trial continues.