Anti-Gay Marriage Beliefs Blamed for Firing

     (CN) – An Indiana county employee was fired for refusing to process gay marriage applications, according to her lawsuit.
     Linda Summers sued Harrison County, Ind. and county clerk Sally Whitis in Federal Court. Summers worked for the county clerk’s office for more than six years and claims she was fired by Whitis after requesting a religious accommodation to be exempt from processing same-sex marriage licenses, which Summers says is against her Christian beliefs.
     Friday’s lawsuit comes on the heels of a debate over religious freedoms and civil duties for government employees after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in June to legalize gay marriage in all 50 states. One such battle continues in Rowan County, Ky., where clerk Kim Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses after the high court’s ruling, which prompted a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union.
     Summers’ troubles allegedly started earlier, after the Indiana Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in October.
     Soon after the decision, an email was sent to employees stating that the clerk’s office must process gay marriage applications. The email also said: “Even though it may be against your personal beliefs, we are required by state law to process their applications. We are only doing the paperwork and not performing their ceremony,” according to the complaint.
     Summers was asked in December to process a same-sex marriage application, and in response she submitted a religious accommodation request to Whitis claiming she has “a sincerely held religious belief against same-sex marriages” and “that being required to process marriage licenses for such couples violated her religious beliefs based upon Biblical teaching,” the complaint states.
     Whitis fired Summers the next day for insubordination, the lawsuit alleges, despite Summers’ claim that two co-workers had offered to process same-sex applications for her.
     “The foregoing discharge occurred without any attempt by the defendant to accommodate plaintiff and her religious beliefs, despite the fact that plaintiff made her sincerely-held beliefs known to defendant Whitis,” the complaint states.
     Summers sued for religious discrimination and injunctive relief. She seeks compensation for wages, punitive damages and an order stopping Hamilton County from engaging in discrimination. She is represented by Earl Mullins, Jr. of Masters, Mullins & Arrington in Louisville, Ky.

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