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Thursday, January 17, 2019

Just as dozens of New York judges are signing up for rare Sunday duty in order to officiate at gay weddings on July 24, when the state’s marriage equality law takes effect, one town clerk has resigned and another recused herself in opposition to the act.

Laura Fotusky, the elected town clerk for Broome County, submitted her resignation earlier this month, saying that she could not in good conscience marry gay and lesbian couples. “The Bible clearly teaches that God created marriage between male and female as a divine gift that preserves families and cultures,” she wrote in her letter of resignation, which the anti-gay-marriage group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms posted on its website. “Since I love and follow Him, I cannot put my signature on something that is against God.”

A few days after Fotusky’s announcement, Rosemary Centi, the town clerk for Guilderland, said she will give up her appointment as marriage officer in order to avoid officiating at gay weddings. Centi has not resigned from her position as town clerk and will continue to grant marriage licenses to all eligible applicants, the Times Union reports. Citing several gay friends, Centi insists she does not oppose gay rights in general. But to preside over the marriage ceremonies, she claims, would violate her faith.

The Alliance Defense Fund, an organization opposed to same-sex marriage, recently issued a memorandum in support of clerks who do not wish to preside over gay weddings. The organization argues that clerks deserve religious accommodation by the state, claiming that New York law requires local governments to respect “an employee’s sincerely held religious beliefs,” unless they pose an “undue hardship” to the employer.

It’s common in many fields for professionals to cite conscience in order to avoid performing certain services. Just last month, legislators in Kansas proposed legal protections for pharmacists and health care providers who do not wish to perform abortions for religious reasons. Proponents argued that no person should be required to participate in any health care service that “violates his conscience.”

So far, state officials in New York have been unsympathetic to the conscience argument, at least in regards to public servants. “We all take oaths to follow the laws of the state and the town and the federal government,” Centi’s supervisor told the Times Union. “Same-sex marriages are permitted under the law and it’s our duty to perform them.”

When asked about the clerks’ decisions on Friday, Governor Cuomo took a similar line. ”The law is the law. You enforce the law as is, you don’t get to pick and choose those laws,” he said. “If you can’t enforce the law, you shouldn’t be in that position.”

In choosing to resign, Fotusky appears to agree.

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5 responses to “New York Clerks Choose to Resign Rather than Marry Gay Couples”

  1. anglzel says:

    The BIBLE DOES NOT specifically DESCRIBE the TERM “MARRIAGE BETWEEN A MAN AND A WOMAN” it addresses the REASON FOR SEXUAL RELATIONS FOR PROCREATION, BUT show US the exact word-for-word DECRIPTION for MARRIAGE IN THE BIBLE; NO ONE HAS BEEN ABLE TO DO SO YET. >>>>>NOTE: and remember, THE BIBLE is an INTERPRETATION of THE WORD OF GOD WRITTEN BY NON-PERFECT, FLAWED MEN.

  2. YellerKitty says:

    Narrow-minded, holier-than-though, self-righteous bigots are the last thing we need in our courts. Good riddance to them all. The same people who are so frothingly vehement that others not force their religious beliefs on them are all-too-willing to force theirs on others. We have separation of church and state for a very good reason. Those who cannot respect that do not need to be in a position of influence.

  3. YellerKitty says:

    *holier-than-thou*
    *¬◊

  4. Gadfly Granny says:

    Suppose God struck these clerks deaf and mute… would they still be allowed to stay on the job even though they couldn’t perform their duties? They have a job that they get paid to do, if the cannot or will not perform those duties then they should resign or be fired. Religion has NO PLACE in the work place unless you work in a friggin’ church.

  5. cminhtown says:

    I am usually the tolken straight guy amongst my friends and I am here to tell you gay people are just as boring as the rest of us,just as disfunctional,just as normal. One of the high points of the most recent pride parade I participated in was the surprising # of Gay couples that brought their children. Remember that these same anti-equality types had the nerve to cite “God’s will” in their efforts to keep slavery alive and keep women subjugated with no rights. Christian fundamentalists are every bit as dangerous and disgusting as any Muslim or Islamic fundamentalists.

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