Indiana clerk fired for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses sues, claiming discrimination
A former employee of an Indiana county clerk’s office is suing after being fired for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs.
Linda Summers, former Harrison County clerk, filed her suit last week, accusing County Clerk Sally Whitis of wrongly firing her. Last October, Whitis sent an email to employees directing them to comply with state law and process the marriage applications regardless of religious beliefs, the Indianapolis Star reports.
Summers responded by hand-delivering a letter to Whitis, telling her that same-sex marriage is against her “sincerely-held” religious beliefs, requesting she not be required to do so. As a result, Summers was terminated for insubordination.
Summers, in turn, accused her former employer of unlawfully terminating her against county policy that forbids discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, color, sex, age, national origin, disability, military status, or any other classification under applicable law, according to the Star.
“She was simply requesting that she not be compelled to engage in an activity that she believed violated her religious beliefs which was to process same sex marriage applications,” her attorney, Richard Masters, told WHAS11. “She was not asking for any other accommodation except the one that was affecting her religious beliefs and that what she believes should have been accommodated.”
Two other clerks had offered to process the applications so she wouldn’t have to, Masters told the station.
Masters said the case, filed in federal court, is a First Amendment one and doesn’t argue protection under the state of Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, according to the Star.