In the wake of the recent legislation allowing same-sex marriage in New York, three New York town clerks, Ruth Sheldon, Laura Fotusky and Rose Marie Belforti have refused to perform their town clerk duties by signing marriage applications for same-sex marriages. Today two of them, Ruth Sheldon and Laura Fotusky quit their jobs to prevent further lawsuits against their respective towns. Rose Marie Belforti is presently trying to find out a way around the law so she will not be forced to sign the applications. NOM has, as usual, twisted the story around and made this statement:
"These three public servants love their communities and the people in
them, and they also happen to be women of faith," said Maggie Gallagher,
board member of the National Organization for Marriage, the parent
group of MADA. "It would be easy to accommodate these clerks--by
letting another employee sign same-sex marriage licenses--instead gay
marriage advocates are applauding the idea they should be forced to
choose between their faith and their jobs. What good purpose is served
by needlessly forcing Ruth, Laura and Rose Marie out of a job they love
after serving their community well for years?"
The problem may be that only the officially elected or appointed town clerk can sign the certificates, not an office assistant. At least one of these will be going to court in the near future for a decision. We'll see what the outcome of that is, but int he meantime, two former town clerks are looking for new jobs. There certainly can be a case made for allowing personal convictions to come between a job description and actual performance, but this may be one of those "on the fence" decisions that's hard to make.