The parents of a five-year-old kindergartener in Louisiana were allegedly told their newly adopted daughter could not attend a local school because they are a same-sex couple.
In an interview with NBC News, married couple Emily and Jennie Parker, said they were told they needed to find a new school for their daughter, Zoey, because their marriage went against the doctrine at the Bible Baptist Academy in DeQuincy.
“Because of our lifestyle choices, we wouldn’t be a good fit for the school,” Jennie Parker, 31, told the outlet the couple was told by the pastor and director at the school.
That meeting, they say, took place only two days before school started.
Emily Parker, 28, said the pastor told the couple that a marriage is only between a man and a woman. Emily Parker is Zoey's biological aunt. Her and her wife adopted Zoey after Zoey's father died in a work accident in 2020.
Emily and Jennie have been married since 2016.
Zoey attended pre-school at Bible Baptist Academy last year, the two added.
“We’ve never been confronted so bluntly about our relationship,” Emily Parker shared. “Our love, our marriage, has always felt natural. Our families have always made us feel like we are two people who love each other. This was a big slap in the face.”
The school’s website posted a statement about the incident, which read in part, “As a Baptist academy, we are also committed to provide an environment that is consistent with the beliefs that we hold. We want our students to not only know our beliefs, but we want them to see them as well. Regarding personal relationships, we hold that those relationships, whether in dating or in marriage, should be between a man and a woman.”
The school also said in the statement to NBC News, “There are times where our commitment to upholding our Christian values will not line up with the values of other people. This should not be interpreted that we have any hatred or malice toward them.”
Emily Parker called out the school on Facebook, especially in regard with the school’s assertion that they have no hate or malice.
“You know what you just taught my daughter? How truly judgmental your church is. How unforgiving and unrelenting you are. I was angry, hurt, embarrassed but I am not anymore. Now, I am thankful. Thankful you will not mold my tiny human’s brain to be anything like you. I will teach my child to love EVERYONE just like you say your God is supposed to," she wrote. "My child has lost so much. Her mother, her father, her whole life has been wrenched away before her 5th birthday. And now… her education, her friends, and her teachings of the God that she loves and I support.”
The Parkers announced last week that Zoey will be attending another Christian school. In another Facebook post, Emily Parker wrote that her daughter will be attending Hamilton Christian School.
“My little girl will never find herself alone or without love. She is loved farther than comprehension could explain,” she wrote in the post thanking supporters and her local community. “I am so excited for her new journey I just hate how it came about.”