Second NY Clerk Quits over Gay Marriage Law

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A second town clerk in New York is resigning over her religious objection to the state's new law legalizing same-sex marriage.

Ruth Sheldon in Granby, Oswego County said signing a marriage certificate for same-sex couples violates her faith.

"I have struggled prayerfully how to handle this situation since I would be forced to sign same-sex marriage licenses," Sheldon wrote. "It is clear that I must stand for what I believe."
On July 11, Laura Fotusky, a clerk for Barker, Broome County, submitted her resignation to the town board for the same reasons.

The Alliance Defense Fund has advised New York municipal clerks responsible for issuing marriage licenses that they're required by the state's human rights law to accommodate an employee's sincerely held religious beliefs.

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," ADF noted in a memo.

"Indeed, it is disturbing that public officials have so blithely dismissed New Yorkers' sincerely held beliefs even though millions of New Yorkers believe that marriage is only between a man and a woman," the ADF said.
Gay marriage is set to become legal in New York on Sunday.

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