Court Worker Says Firing Was Religious Bias

     (CN) – A longtime employee of the Broward County Clerk of Courts claims in court that she was fired for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples due to her religious beliefs.
     In a complaint filed in the federal court in Miami, Yanicka Parker says she worked in the clerk’s office for 12 years before Florida lifted its ban for same sex marriages on January 6, 2015.
     Parker also notes that throughout her years in the clerk’s office, she worshiped at the Faith Deliverance Tabernacle in Fort Lauderdale and is now, in fact, a minister and firmly believes that “God will judge individual Christians, as well as the society of which they are a part, who condone or institute same sex marriages.”
     As described in the Sept. 9 complaint, Parker received an email from
     Parker claims that a few days before the new regulation took effect, she received an email from Broward County Clerk of Courts Howard Forman, informing her that all clerks were expected to issue marriage licenses and perform ceremonies for same sex couples.
     “Ms. Parker immediately informed her supervisors that due to her religion beliefs she would not be able to perform same sex marriages,” the complaint says.
     Parker says she asked Forman for an accommodation on Jan. 6, 2015, that would allow her to continue to perform her other job duties without issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples or performing marriage ceremonies for them.
     But Parker claims Forman refused to even consider her request, despite the fact there were six other clerks and supervisors who could handle the same-sex marriage responsibilities of the office.
     Instead, the complaint says, Forman suspended her for two days, and then fired her when she returned.
     “Defendant Forman committed an unlawful employment practice to the detriment of plaintiff when he discharged the plaintiff, or otherwise discriminated against her with respect to her compensation, terms, conditions, or privileges of employment because of her religion,” the complaint says.
     Parker is seeking compensatory damages on claims of religious discrimination.
     She is represented by Todd Shulby from Weston, Fla.
     Iris Siple, the chief administrator for the Broward County’s Clerk of Court’s Office, declined to comment on ongoing litigation.

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