A former county clerk is suing her employer for ‘discrimination’ after she refused to due her job and process same-sex marriage licenses.
Yanicka Parker had been employed at Broward County Clerk’s Office in Florida for more than 12 years, and as part of her job was responsible for processing marriage licenses.
However, after equal marriage came to Florida in January last year, Ms Parker claimed that she was unable to continue in her duties.
After putting the clerk’s office at risk by refusing to process marriage licenses, Ms Parker was suspended. When she returned to work she continued to refuse to perform her duties and was fired.
However, in a lawsuit this month she claims the treatment amounts to discrimination based on her religious beliefs.
The suit claims: “Ms. Parker is a Christian believer and adherent of the Christian faith and is a member of and regular attendee at Faith Deliverance Tabernacle, located in Fort Lauderdale, Broward County, Florida.
“Ms Parker has a sincerely held religious belief, based upon the tenants of her faith and biblical teaching, such as Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27, I Cor. 6:9-10; and I Tim 1:9-10, that it is a sin for persons of the same sex to engage in sexual relations and, based upon Genesis 2:18-25, and other biblical authority, that persons of the same sex cannot and should not be morally or legally recognized as husband and wife, and that God will judge individual Christians, as well as the society of which they are a part, who condone or institute same sex marriage.”
Amusingly, Ms Parker claims in her lawsuit to be a practising minister – despite the fact some of the same Bible verses she quotes in her lawsuit specifically ban this.
For example, I Tim states: “Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection/But I suffer not a woman to teach, nor to usurp authority over the man, but to be in silence.”
Leviticus, meanwhile, contains guidelines on permissible slave ownership while banning clothes made from mixed fabrics and eating pork or shellfish.
The suit claims: “The BCCO issued an email informing all clerks that they will be expected to issue marriage licenses and perform ceremonies for same sex couples.
“19. Ms. Parker immediately informed her supervisors that due to her religious beliefs she would not be able to perform same sex marriages.
“Ms. Parker was sent home on January 6, 2015 and again on January 7, 2015 for asking to be excused from performing same sex marriages.
“Ms. Parker was asked to return to the BCCO on January 12, 2015 and when she did was advised that she was terminated.”
It claims the treatment amounts to “unlawful employment practices in that they have the effect of denying employment to, discriminating against, depriving and tending to deprive equal employment opportunities to Plaintiff, and otherwise adversely affecting Plaintiff, because of her religion.”
She is seeking compensation for lost wages as well as unspecified damages for “emotional harm and mental anguish”.