Christian clerk: ‘Gay marriages’ violate my civil rights

By Bob Unruh

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A longtime county employee in Indiana has filed a lawsuit after she was fired for refusing to process a marriage-license application for a same-sex couple, arguing her civil and constitutional rights were violated.

The complaint filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana at New Albany by Linda G. Summers seeks an order preventing her boss from discriminating based on religion. She is seeking compensation for lost wages, earnings and benefits as well as punitive damages.

The complaint names as defendants Harrison County Clerk Sally Whitis and the county.

Summers, as a Christian, objected to being forced to provide for “same-sex marriage” paperwork. She told Whitis that other office employees were willing to take care of those duties when they arose.

Summers was hired in 2008 and worked in the county’s office in Corydon, Indiana. The complaint states she “has a sincerely held religious belief, based upon the [tenets] of her faith and biblical teaching, such as Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27, 1 Cor. 6:89-10; and 1 Tim. 1:9-10, that it is a sin for persons of the same sex to engage in sexual relation.”

She believes “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 marriages.”

Whitis had emailed a demand in 2014 that all employees would have a “duty” to process same-sex marriage applications. When in December of that year a same-sex couple arrived at the office to apply, Summers “informed defendant Whitis that she felt that she could not prepare the appropriate paperwork.”

Later that day, she formally requested a “religious accommodation” and noted there were “two other employees of the Harrison County clerk’s office who had offered to [process papers] when such applications were received.”

Whitis responded the same day by firing her.

“The foregoing discharge occurred without any attempt by the defendant to accommodate plaintiff and her religious beliefs,” the complaint says, “despite the fact that plaintiff made her sincerely-held beliefs known to defendant Whitis; requested a reasonable accommodation; and that Section 1.4 of the Harrison County Personnel Policies Handbook provides, in relevant part that, ‘it is the policy of the county of Harrison to provide equal employment opportunity in employment to all employees … and to prohibit discrimination in employment because of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin.”

The case cites Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and federal law.

The case alleges unlawful employment practices and discrimination based on religion and asks the court to “make whole the plaintiff for all earnings, wages, bonuses and other benefits (both past and future).”

The attorney filing the case is Earl C. Mullins of Louisville, Kentucky.

When the U.S. Supreme Court in June created same-sex marriage in a case involving four states, the 5-4 majority opinion said people of faith still retained their right of religious exercise.

A related dispute is developing in Kentucky, where the ACLU is suing a clerk in Rowan County for exercising her First Amendment religious rights.

WND’s attempt to obtain a comment from the clerk’s office was unsuccessful on Wednesday.

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