Thursday, July 21, 2011

Christian Conscience Protections from NY 'Gay Marriage'

When New York's new definition of marriage takes effect on July 24, many county clerks will be confronted with the conflict between a surrendering to a new job requirement and adherence to their own religious beliefs. They may have some legal options . . .

For background, read Gay Lobby Purchases Same-sex 'Marriage' in New York and also read 'Gay Marriage' via Moguls & Corruption

UPDATE 11/9/11: Rose Marie Belforti, Ledyard Town Clerk, Wins Re-Election After Opposing Gay Marriage

UPDATE 9/30/11: Clerks hold to convictions, government yields somewhat - read more on this HERE.

-- From "When Conscience and the New Marriage Law Collide" by Clyde Haberman, New York Times 7/18/11

[Laura L. Fotusky] announced her resignation as the town clerk of nearby Barker. Her religious beliefs, Ms. Fotusky said, made it impossible for her in good conscience to issue marriage licenses to gay and lesbian couples. Her last day in a job that she has held for four years is Thursday, three days before New York’s same-sex marriage law goes into effect.

“In Acts 5:29,” she wrote to the Barker town board last week, “it states, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’ ” And it is clear to her, she said, that the Bible defines marriage as solely the union of a man and a woman.

. . . Rosemary Centi, the town clerk in Guilderland, N.Y., outside Albany, said she would stop presiding over wedding ceremonies (a function that Ms. Fotusky does not perform in Barker).

Ms. Centi said she would continue as clerk, and would issue marriage licenses to everyone who was eligible, but she could no longer be Guilderland’s marriage officer. As a Roman Catholic, she said, she felt that she could not perform the actual rituals for same-sex couples.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "NY County Clerks Have Allies" by Dave Lucas, WAMC Northeast Public Radio (Albany, NY) 7/19/11

The Alliance Defense Fund . . . has issued a memo that favors County Clerks here in New York State who find themselves at odds with the new marriage quality law.

The ADF claims its memo was circulated in response what the organization identifies as "threats from top officials of the Empire State to charge clerks who decline to issue such licenses with a criminal offense--forcing clerks to decide between their career and their faith."

Democratic Nassau County DA Kathleen Rice sent a letter warning local municipal clerks there that --quote-- "a public official's intentional refusal to issue marriage licenses to qualified same-sex couples may constitute official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor."

State Senator Ruben Diaz, a Bronx Democrat who staunchly opposes same-sex marriage, argues that no one should have to resign from their job if issuing marriage licenses to gay couples violates his or her conscience.

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

From "Aid offered to clerks who refuse" by Jimmy Vielkind, Capitol bureau, Albany Times Union 7/19/11

"Contrary to what some elected officials have indicated, those with sincerely held religious beliefs do not have to leave their faith at government's door," said the Rev. Jason McGuire, executive director of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.

McGuire points out that the Alliance Defense Fund, a national group supporting proactive expressions of faith, has issued a memo explaining clerks' rights. Employers must make "reasonable accommodation" for an employee's "sincerely held religious beliefs" under law, it says.

In this instance, the memo says, "because New York law explicitly allows a municipality to delegate a clerk's duties concerning marriage licenses to a deputy clerk or any other municipal employee, a city or town should have no reason to deny a clerk's request for an accommodation."

Gov. Andrew Cuomo was asked last week about Fotusky's decision, and presented a cut-and-dried assessment of the situation: "The law is the law. You enforce the law as is; you don't get to pick and choose those laws. ... If you can't enforce the law, you shouldn't be in that position."

To read the entire article above, CLICK HERE.

Also read NY Same-sex 'Marriage' Pits Christians vs. 'christians'