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Teacher sues day care center that fired her for not reading children’s books on gay marriage

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A California day care teacher fired for refusing to read picture books promoting same-sex marriage to children has sued her former employer, alleging a violation of her religious freedom.

Filed Thursday in Los Angeles County Superior Court, the lawsuit says the director of Bright Horizons Children’s Center in Studio City fired Nelli Parisenkova after learning her beliefs in April.

The lawsuit accuses the international day care network of violating several laws on religious discrimination, faith-based harassment and wrongful termination.

The complaint claims the director, who is a lesbian, took “personal offense” and denied a religious accommodation from school diversity policies to Ms. Parisenkova, who had worked there for four years without incident.

“She treats all people with respect and love regardless of their lifestyle choices, and teaches children to also treat all people with respect and love, but she cannot personally engage in acts that promote such lifestyles,” the complaint states.

The lawsuit seeks an unspecified amount in punitive damages to reimburse Ms. Parisenkova for lost wages and emotional distress.

Bright Horizons did not respond immediately to a request for comment.

Ms. Parisenkova is being represented by attorneys from the Thomas More Society, a public interest law firm based in Chicago.



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