A new video project tells the stories of three New York town clerks who have refused to comply with the state's new marriage equality law because of their religious convictions.
The videos were released Thursday by the Courage Fund, an initiative of New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, a group of evangelical Protestants that advocated against the law that passed the state legislature in June. The Courage Fund helps find legal support for clerks who refuse to issue marry licenses to same-sex couples.
Videos are available from Laura Fotusky, town clerk of Barker; Ruth Sheldon, town clerk of Granby; and Rose Marie Belforti, the Ledyard town clerk. Fotusky and Sheldon resigned rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, a decision that Gov. Andrew Cuomo called appropriate for public employees. Belforti, however, refused to step down and instead insisted on her right to appoint a deputy to issue marriage licenses to all couples. Her stance has resulted in a potential lawsuit against her and the town of Ledyard from People for the American Way.
"I am a Christian, and the Bible tells me that marriage is between a man and a woman, so I don't feel that I can endorse the new law, the policy for same-sex people to be married," says Belforti in the video. "I don't feel it's right."
The clerk also discusses her preference for a voter referendum on the same-sex marriage law, and she suggests that the process in the legislature slipped by the "busy" public. New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms filed a lawsuit against the state Senate to challenge the legality of the process that passed the bill.
Belforti, who has repeatedly refused to speak with The Advocate, faces a write-in challenger to her reelection next month. Ed Easter recently announced his candidacy in response to her refusal to marry same-sex couples. He received the formal endorsement of PFAW's PAC and supporters will hold a fund-raiser for him this evening.
Watch the video with Belforti.