A former police officer is considering filing a civil rights lawsuit against a Georgia police department after he was forced out of his job for refusing to delete a Facebook post defending traditional marriage.

The possible lawsuit comes as the Supreme Court and some lower courts have become increasingly protective in recent years of constitutionally based religious freedoms.

While employed by the police department in Port Wentworth, Georgia, Jacob Kersey posted an item on his personal Facebook page earlier this year expressing his belief in the sanctity of marriage as an institution between one man and one woman.

On Jan. 2, Kersey published a post saying: “God designed marriage. Marriage refers to Christ and the church. That’s why there is no such thing as homosexual marriage,” according to a demand letter (pdf) prepared by his attorneys at the First Liberty Institute.

First Liberty Institute represented football coach Joseph Kennedy in Kennedy v. Bremerton School District. In June 2022, the Supreme Court ruled that a school district in Washington state violated First Amendment religious freedom protections when it fired the high school coach for leading personal prayers at the 50-yard line after games.

On Jan. 3, Kersey’s supervisor directed him to delete the post or face termination from his job. Kersey interpreted this ultimatum as a demand that he choose between his employment and his Christian beliefs. Other officials also ordered him to remove the post. Kersey was advised that as a police officer his free speech was limited.

Police Chief Matt Libby told Kersey that his post about his Christian beliefs was the “same thing as saying the N-word and [expletive] all those homosexuals,” according to the demand letter.

Kersey was given a letter notifying him that he could be fired if he posted any more content on social media deemed offensive. Instead of remaining, Kersey resigned from the department on Jan. 17, having joined the police force the previous May. He refused to delete the Facebook post.

Stephanie N. Taub, senior counsel with First Liberty Institute, said “all options,” including litigation, “are on the table.”… (Excerpt from The Epoch Times)


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