Not long after the ban was lifted in Florida on same-sex marriage, Yanicka Parker, a longtime court specialist of the Broward County Clerk's Office was fired for refusing a same-sex couple a marriage license due to her Christian religion. Recently, she has filed a federal lawsuit against Howard C. Forman, Clerk of Courts for the Seventeenth Judicial Circuit in and for Broward County, Florida.
Before the ban was lifted on same-sex marriage in Florida the BCCO issued an email informing all employees they will be expected to fulfill ceremonies and marriage license for same-sex couples. Being a minister herself and a faithful member of Faith Deliverance Tabernacle, Parker immediately responded to the email to request accommodation because due to her religious beliefs she will not be able to commence in issuing marriage license and ceremonies to same-sex couples.
On January 6th, 2015, the day the ban was lifted, she requested to be excused from issuing marriage license which prompted to BCCO to send her home for the remainder of the day on leave. The very next day, January 7th, Parker requested the same and was sent home on leave. Upon returning on January 12th at the request of BCCO Parker was terminated from her position citing the reason of her refusal to process same-sex marriage licenses and ceremonies.
Several biblical scriptures were referenced by Parker's suit to explain her faith. Leviticus 18:22; Romans 1:26-27; I Corinthians 6:9-10; and I Timothy 1:9-10 were referenced to support her stance. Genesis 2:18-25 confers that people of the same sexual origin should not be acknowledged morally or legally as husband and wife or God will judge each Christian and community or institute that condones same-sex marriage.
Parker had requested an accommodation to remove her from one process of the court specialist task, same-sex marriage licenses and ceremonies, to complete the tasks she had been performing in her tenure of 12 years as a court specialist III. She also requested to be transferred, relocated, or reassigned to a department that would not impose on her religious beliefs.
On the date specified, Parker referenced there were several other clerks present and available to handle the task that she could not complete due to her biblical teachings.
"Issuing marriage license to same -sex couples was a minuscule 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," the complaint reads according to Law Newz by Dan Abrams. According to the lawsuit, there was no reasonable accommodation prior to terminating her from the position.
As a court specialist III, responsibilities vary and include numerous tasks including responsible for customer contact, direct and indirect; responsible for performing marriage ceremonies; and any other job-related tasks assigned by division management.
The unlawful employment practices alleged in the lawsuit conclude Yanicka Parker was discriminated against based on her religious practices by limiting and/or depriving Parker of equal rights to employment regardless of her religious beliefs.
Based on these allegations, there has been public outrage for and against Parker.
Carolyn Alston is a reporter intern for The Gospel Herald.