People For The American Way have issued the follwing Press Release in response to reports that some town clerks in the state of New York are refusing to issue and sign marriage liscenses for same sex couples.
People For the American Way Foundation and Proskauer Rose, LLP, a global law firm, sent a letter this weekend to the Ledyard Town Board, demanding that the town’s clerk fulfill her legal duty to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The letter refers to Ledyard Town Clerk Rose Marie Belforti, who had publicly stated that she will not sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples and refused to do so for Katie Carmichael and Deirdre DiBiaggio on August 30. With the Ledyard Town Board’s permission, Ms. Belforti decided to stop issuing marriage licenses altogether due to her opposition to the Marriage Equality Act, instead delegating the responsibility to a subordinate officer.
Upon appearing before Ms. Belforti for a marriage license on August 30th, Ms. Carmichael and Ms. DiBiaggio were told by the town clerk herself that they could not obtain a license that day and instead would need to return by appointment another day to meet with a subordinate official who would fulfill their request. Faced with discrimination by an elected official who placed her personal prejudices above the law, Katie Carmichael and Deirdre DiBiaggio turned to People For the American Way Foundation for help in realizing their right to wed.
Public officials can’t pick and choose the laws they want to follow. If a public official simply decides to shirk the obligations of her office, then she should resign and be replaced by someone who will do the job and carry out state law. Enforcement of the Marriage Equality Act is not subject to the opinion of town clerks – it is the right of all New Yorkers.
The Attorney General of the State of New York who should be bringing charges against these civil servants and/or elected officials who continue unlawful discrimination. If Belforti didn’t like a Jew marrying a Catholic or a Black man marrying a White woman. Could she deny these requests?
There must be a clear guideline, otherwise, the couples wanting to marry will again be held hostage due to religious and political discrimination.
Contact the Office of the Attorney General
Albany, NY 12224-0341
Demand that they investigate and prosecute Ledyard Town Clerk Rose Marie Belforti for her unlawful actions!