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September 14, 2011 Print

PFAW: State Should Force Clerk to Issue Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

by Catherine Snow

People for the American Way Foundation (PFAW) is threatening legal action against a New York town unless its clerk starts issuing same-sex marriage licenses — or resigns.

Rose Marie Belforti made national headlines last month when she announced that her Christian beliefs would not allow her to sign same-sex marriage licenses, and that a deputy clerk would now fulfill this particular task.

According to PFAW, Belforti has committed a misdemeanor for refusing to personally issue two women a marriage license on Aug. 30. If the board fails to force Belforti to “perform her essential duties” or resign, the liberal advocacy group vows to take legal action on the women’s behalf.

In an exclusive interview with Family News in Focus in August, Belforti said, “I think we’re all born into the image of God. I don’t personally have any problem with gay people. I have friends who are gay. This is more a policy issue for me.”

The board has yet to announce the results from its Sept. 12 meeting about the letter.

Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director for New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, was disappointed, but not surprised with the latest turn of events.

“I would hope that the People for the American Way would realize that it’s the American way,” he said, “to recognize the religious freedoms of every American.”


Read PFAW’s letter to the Ledyard Town Board.

Read the exclusive interview with Belforti on Aug. 19.

Contribute to the Courage Fund, which was created to help N.Y. clerks confronted with challenges over same-sex marriage.