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Christian lifeguard gets an exemption to raising the rainbow flag. He still wants more.

A lifeguard
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A Los Angeles lifeguard who refused to raise the Progress Pride flag at his station on a gay beach has been granted an accommodation.

Lifeguard Captain Jeffrey Little says raising the flag violates his religious beliefs.

“The Fire Department has made assurances that Little would not be personally responsible for the raising or lowering of the Progress Pride Flag, because he either will be assigned to stations that are unable to fly the Progress Pride Flag throughout June, or he will be able to trade shifts to such stations,” according to a statement from the Thomas More Society, which is suing the Los Angeles County Fire Department on the lifeguard’s behalf.

Little’s legal representatives aren’t satisfied with the partial exemption, however, complaining that Little deserves the “full and complete religious accommodation” he requested in his lawsuit, which they said would include “a standing religious accommodation to permanently and comprehensively protect Little’s religious liberty rights.”

As a supervisor with a reported salary of over $200,000 a year, Little will still be responsible for ensuring subordinates raise the flag. He’ll also be required to file a religious accommodation request every year ahead of Pride Month.

Last year, LA County supervisors voted to fly the Progress Pride flag at public buildings during Pride Month. That requirement included lifeguard facilities at Will Rogers State Beach in Pacific Palisades, a favorite gathering spot for LGBTQ+ beachgoers. Little is routinely stationed there.

The 20-year veteran lifeguard protested to supervisors then that he didn’t want to raise the flag because it went against his religious beliefs. Supervisors sought to accommodate him by assigning him to stations that didn’t yet have the proper poles to raise the flag.

When Little arrived at one such facility, he found three Progress Pride flags flying.

“I was confused,” Little is quoted thinking in the suit, “why they were flying as I was under the impression that I would not have to deal with working in these conditions.”

Little took all the flags down.

That led to a direct order from his supervisor that the flags would be properly hoisted through Pride Month and eventually to Little’s lawsuit.

“The views commonly associated with the Progress Pride flag on marriage, sex, and family are in direct conflict with Captain Little’s bona fide and sincerely held religious beliefs on the same subjects,” according to the suit filed in federal court in May.

Little claims he was subjected to retaliation and harassment following the insubordination, despite his Christian convictions.

“You are an LA County employee, that’s the only thing that matters,” Division Chief Fernando Boiteux allegedly told him. “Your religious beliefs do not matter.”

Little’s attorney Paul Jonna described widespread religious discrimination similar to Little’s case in Los Angeles and across the country.

“I think we’re seeing employers across the country — but especially here in southern California with Los Angeles County’s directives — that are not only having the government promote the pride flag, have the pride flag flown, but now they’re forcing certain employees to handle the flag and raise the flag,” Jonna said in an interview with the Christian Post.

Without evidence, the Thomas More Society claims LA County has received “hundreds” of similar exemption requests.

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