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Aug 31 2011

NY Clerk Won’t Issue Marriage Licenses

Another clerk in New York thinks they can pick and choose which parts of their job they’d like to do and refuse to do their job for those they disapprove of.

Ledyard Town Clerk Rose Marie Belforti submitted a letter to the Ledyard Town Board saying that her religious beliefs prevented her from signing marriage licenses for same-sex couples and the board discussed Belforti’s letter at Monday’s meeting, according to John Binns, a member of the town board.

When reached for comment Thursday, Belforti said “that’s not your business” before hanging up the phone.


I hate the smell of Christian hegemony in the morning. See how it works? It’s none of your business that she refuses to do her job, but it’s her business who is sleeping with whom even if they’re in full compliance with the law. Heads she wins, tails we all lose. And though it’s none of your business, it’s clearly the business of Focus on the Family, with whom she did a full interview.

Why did you decide not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples?

I am a Christian. God is the final word. He is the Truth, and I believe what the Bible says. When I considered this, God was there with me and I really knew inside, without waver, that this is not right. It is the law now, and I do want to obey the law because God wants me to do that, but personally for me to administer this application to a couple of the same sex would be very difficult. And I don’t think it’d do the couple any service to have me as their person, because it really, truly, does grieve the Holy Spirit that resides in my heart, and I don’t know if I’d be able to cover that up for them.

Then resign your position. When you represent the government, you don’t get to pick and choose who gets the benefit of your service based on whether your imaginary friend approves of them or not.

31 comments

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  1. 1
    Chiroptera

    I know we’ve had this discussion before, but remind me: it can’t be too difficult to dismiss a town clerk in New York who has publicly stated that she will not perform her duties, can it?

  2. 2
    Randomfactor

    I wish her well in her new career, after she resigns out of conscience. Oh, no, she doesn’t have that much courage, does she?

  3. 3
    JoeBuddha

    Hopefully she won’t get the deal that pharmacists got. I still think you should do your job or find something that won’t challenge your bigotry delicate sensibilities.

  4. 4
    Dennis N

    It is none of my business why she wants to quit her job. People leave my work sometimes and I don’t ask, because it’s not my business. Oh, she’s not leaving? Then why doesn’t she stfu and do her job?

  5. 5
    Aquaria

    She doesn’t get that she’s answerable to taxpayers, does she?

    Here’s a hint, scumbag Rose: Your job isn’t about you, but about serving your constituents. Nobody gives a shit what you think. Now shut up and get to work, or fuck off.

  6. 6
    daveau

    Maybe she can get a nice job at Focus on the Family.

  7. 7
    regexp

    Has she signed certificates for previosily divorced couples? Couples who have no intention of having children? Couples of different religious backgrounds? Atheists?

    If so – she should of resigned years ago.

  8. 8
    The Lorax

    We needn’t fright
    For what we like
    Because it’s a Bill of Right.
    And it’s ok
    To be Takei
    Regardless of what others say.

  9. 9
    Ellie

    Would she sign a certificate for Newt Gingrich? If the answer is yes, then she’s just another Hypocrite For Jesus.

  10. 10
    cholten99

    > Ledyard Town Clerk Rose Marie Belforti submitted a letter to
    > the Ledyard Town Board saying that her religious beliefs
    > prevented her from signing marriage licenses for
    > niggers same-sex couples

    Plus ca change…

  11. 11
    Nemo

    Small-d democrat that I am, I’ve still never understood why positions like this are elected offices.

    I really knew inside, without waver, that this is not right.

    That’s funny, because that’s exactly how I felt when the Defense of Marriage Act first came up — except, from the opposite perspective. Prior to that time, I was ambivalent about gay marriage — not really a fan of marriage in general, and I’d read these pieces from (allegedly) gay people opposing it — and then DOMA came up, this hate bill, and never have I been so quickly stricken with moral clarity: “No, this is wrong.”

  12. 12
    teawithbertrand

    Come on now Rose, the source of your bigotry is not the “holy spirit that resides in your heart,” it’s your own ignorance, small-mindedness and lack of empathy for your fellow human beings. All the magic-book-says-so bullshit in the world won;t make it right. Get your head out of your ass or get a different job.

  13. 13
    Marcus Ranum

    “Oh, fine. Then you can clean the toilets.”

  14. 14
    MikeMa

    I understand Hambone’s Ark will need ticket takers and dung sweepers. Rose seems eminently qualified for either.

  15. 15
    abb3w

    Noting once again: just as your right to swing your fist is circumscribed by my right to a pain-free nose, your right to Free Exercise of your religion is circumscribed by my right to Freedom From Establishment of Religion the moment you say “I’m from the government; I’m here to help you.”

  16. 16
    MikeMa

    A followup quote from the terminally cluelees and bigoted clerk from LGBTQNation:

    “I don’t understand why we have to change the form. I’m worried there’s another agenda involved here other than just allowing same-sex couples to be married. We know what a bride is, we know what a groom is—but if we choose to be a ‘spouse,’ does that even limit (marriage) to a human being? Do you know what I’m saying?”

    She wants to prevent marriage to non-humans. Sadly she may fall into that category herself without even knowing it. One has to wonder which paranoid conspiracy theorist keeps this asswipe awake at night?

  17. 17
    Ellie

    “We know what a bride is, we know what a groom is—but if we choose to be a ‘spouse,’ does that even limit (marriage) to a human being? Do you know what I’m saying?”

    Yes, you’re saying that if we allow this, next people will be marrying babies and animals.

    I say that people who can’t tell the difference between those who cannot give consent and two consenting adults in a loving relationship are scary and I don’t want them around my children or my pets.

  18. 18
    Chiroptera

    MikeMa at 11:56: We know what a bride is, we know what a groom is—but if we choose to be a ‘spouse,’ does that even limit (marriage) to a human being? Do you know what I’m saying?

    Yeah, she’s saying she’s a moron. The wording on the form reflects the law; what’s allowed by law isn’t determined by the wording on the form.

  19. 19
    Danaleigh

    You know what, if this was a regular civil service employee, I might have some sympathy with her wanting to be accomodated and delegate this duty to someone else if it wouldn’t have any effect on same-sex couples’ right to marry. But this is an elected position. I don’t think you get to ask the general public, those of all faiths and sexual orientations, to put their faith in you to do the job you’re asking to be given the right to do for them, and then turn around after they’ve done so and say, by the way, I won’t do this part of the job because I don’t like some of my constituents. Sorry, nope.

    And yes, the “spouse” thing is stupid. What does she think a “spouse” is? Does it have some mysterious definition separate from “husband” or “wife” that allows it to potentially include nonhumans? Does she not consider herself a “spouse” now, if she’s married? She makes the same mistake about “parent”:

    For instance, I don’t know if, when we consider historically that people are going to go back and look at their genealogy and try to find out who their relatives are, when they come upon this form and they see father or parent, mother or parent, they’re never going to know if that’s their real mother and father or if it’s just a neighbor who was raising them or an uncle or an aunt or anybody … because a parent really can be anyone.

    So apparently your “real mother or father” is automatically your biological one, but a “parent” can be “anyone”? So if she has biological children, is she not their “parent”? And anyway, what does confirming someone’s parental status have to do with a *marriage* certificate?

  20. 20
    John Hinkle

    Well, she could always transfer to another licensing department…

    I wonder if she’d sign a license for a restaurant that intends to serve shell fish.

    Or how about a license for a retailer that intends to sell mixed fiber clothing?

    A teaching license for a teacher that thinks pi doesn’t equal 3?

    C’mon, if you’re going all Biblical, it’s all the way, or it’s vomitted from the mouth of [insert correct member of Trinity here].

  21. 21
    LightningRose

    The town board should simply accept this as a letter of resignation and move on.

  22. 22
    MikeMa

    @LightningRose
    I suspect the town board might be of the same mind as our Ms Belforti.

    Doesn’t really change the outcome. Belforti has to go but it might prolong the agony and increase her martyrdom. Not sure if the she has actually refused to sign a same sex marriage license yet or she is just preparing to do so. The local gov’t may be waiting for an actual complaint rather than acting on the claim that she will break the law at some point in the future.

  23. 23
    Hercules Grytpype-Thynne

    Does it have some mysterious definition separate from “husband” or “wife” that allows it to potentially include nonhumans?

    I see here in my handy right-wing lexicon that it includes dogs and box turtles. At least.

  24. 24
    MollyNYC

    Then resign your position.

    Jesus wouldn’t want her to be inconvenienced. Just ask her.

  25. 25
    rmw1982

    “Maybe she can get a nice job at Focus on the Family.”

    Ugh. Please, no. We have enough of “good Christians” here in Colorado Springs.

  26. 26
    matty1

    I’m going to risk a shitstorm here. While I have no sympathy at all with her bigotry and agree she should resign or be fired, I do have a certain sympathy with the idea that it is acceptable to leave a job because the job description has changed.

    Suppose a Kosher observant Jew was hired by a supermarket to work on the meat counter, next year he is told that his role now includes meat and dairy and announces that he will not do it for religious reasons. An absurd bit of religious foofah but I can see that resigning at that point would not be the same as refusing to do the job he was first hired for.

    Again I *do not* Sympathise with this womans attitude to same sex marriage but is there a case that her job has changed and not wanting to do a changed job should be an respectable reason to resign?

  27. 27
    Midnight Rambler

    matty1: But she’s not resigning. She’s just refusing to do her job. That’s like the observant Jew keeping his job at the meat counter but expecting his assistant to handle every task dealing with pork.

  28. 28
    matty1

    Oh in this case she is being a publicity seeking idiot, which alone might be grounds for termination. I was trying to suggest that the ‘just do your job’ response looses some force if the job has changed from what she was hired for.

  29. 29
    dingojack

    Matty1 –
    a) people’s jobs change all the time because the technology, personell, prceedures and expectations change.
    b) She was hired to sign papers, and now – guess what? – she still signs papers. So in this case, no change there.

    She should just get on with her job and save her attention seeking for weekend protests.
    Dingo

  30. 30
    democommie

    The last time this came up with a NY town clerk who is in the town about ten miles from the one I live in, I checked the NY State Oath of Office for elected officials. It’s not gray. It says you will perform your job with no regard for anything except the legality of your acts. Religion doesn’t get a mention. Fuck her.

    I wonder how the town would react if property owners said, “I’m not going to pay my taxes to any entity that employs a GODbotbigot who denies peoples’ legal rights based on her own particular religiolusions.

  31. 31
    MikeMa

    Update: Town board has temporarily removed the addle-brained clerk from the position of signing licenses. A deputy clerk will do that but since the deputies are not staffed all the time, you must make an appointment to be sure to get a signed license. Bigot needs to resign.

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