The recent suspension of Charee Stanley for refusing to serve alcohol to passengers in accordance with her religious beliefs has drawn comparisons with the case of Kim Davis. According to recent media outpourings, both Kim Davis, the county clerk suspended for refusing marriage licenses to gay couples claiming a religious exception, and Charee Stanley, the flight attendant who was suspended for refusing to serve alcohol to airline passengers due to religious beliefs, should be treated in the same light since both stated they were upholding their religious freedoms.
While they both claim religious freedoms to deny services to others, it’s important to note the differences between these cases. Kim Davis is a public employee who wasn’t fulfilling her job duties through refusing to issue marriage license to gay couples. Charee Stanley had received accommodations from ExpressJet, the private company she worked for, accommodations which allowed for Stanley to continue to fulfill her job duties as a flight attendant without infringing on her religious beliefs. If a passenger asked for an alcoholic beverage, the accommodation would be that Stanley would arrange for a different attendant to serve the alcoholic beverage. Davis on the other hand used her position of authority to prohibit other local clerks from issuing marriage licenses, continuing a pattern of discrimination against homosexuals.
Also it must be noted that Charee Stanley’s suspension came in the wake of a complaint from a co-worker stating that Stanley wasn’t fulfilling her duties. The complaint filed by the employee pointed out that Stanley wore a headdress and had a book with “foreign writings.” This added language shows that in Stanley‘s case, a thread of Islamophobia influenced the complaint. In Davis’s case, no one pointed to the silver cross around her neck as a cause for concern. Couples were filmed trying to get marriage licenses and documented Davis discriminating against them for being gay and refusing to give them a license.
In Charee’s Stanley’s case, despite Stanley perfectly fulfilling the guidelines of her accommodation, a coworker logged a complaint with something like, “Hey I know we agreed to accommodate Stanley’s religious beliefs while still getting customers drinks, but it’s suddenly a huge problem that she wears a headdress and seems to read from a book that isn’t written in English.”
— Rouzy Vafaie (@theworldofjobu) September 6, 2015