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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A Florida woman has been fired for refusing to issue a same-sex marriage license, and now she is suing for discrimination. Yanicka Parker of Florida was fired by the Broward Clerk of Courts, and Parker is now saying a religious exception should have been made.

Parker had been a court specialist at the Broward County Clerk’s Office for more than a decade before the same-sex marriage ban was lifted in Florida on January 5, 2015. Parker sought to get an exception from her boss, but on January 12, 2015 when she returned to work after being placed on leave, Broward County Clerk Howard Forman terminated her employment.

According to the lawsuit, “Ms. Parker has a sincerely held religious belief, based upon the tenants [sic] 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.”

Parker claims there were several people able to issue the same-sex marriage license and that the office discriminated against her for her religious beliefs.

The lawsuit reads, “Given that issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples was a miniscule part of the clerk’s job and overall responsibilities, and Ms. Parker was willing and able to perform all other aspects of her job, Defendant Forman could have easily accommodated her religious beliefs.”

Parker posted a Facebook update quoting President Ronald Reagan: “The Constitution was never meant to keep people from praying; its declared purpose was to protect their freedom to pray.”

Just one month ago in August 2016 a federal judge struck down lawsuits against Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who was arrested last year for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses. Davis, a devout Christian and in a similar situation to that of Parker, was visited by Pope Francis on his visit to America, who gave her Rosary beads and told her to “stay strong.”

James Muthoka
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