Rights Collide as Town Clerk Sidesteps Role in Gay Marriages

Imagine for a second the level of up-roar there would be if this Bible Thumping “Christian” were to refuse to issue marriage licenses to say African-American couples citing the “curse of Ham” or Jewish couple based on traditional Christian anti-Semitism of the sort I remember from my childhood.  Would there be a shadow of doubt that this woman is a bigot of the worst sort, one who would be better off working in one of her precious churches than in a public office where one is expected to treat all people with the same level of respect and dignity.

Some one should tell this woman the era when it acceptable to be a KKK member or a Nazi are long past.

A substantial minority of atheists are fed up with this privileging  of bigotry that go with these claims of religious exemption.

From The New York Times:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/nyregion/rights-clash-as-town-clerk-rejects-her-role-in-gay-marriages.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion

By THOMAS KAPLAN
Published: September 27, 2011

EDYARD, N.Y. — Rose Marie Belforti is a 57-year-old cheese maker, the elected town clerk in this sprawling Finger Lakes farming community and a self-described Bible-believing Christian. She believes that God has condemned homosexuality as a sin, so she does not want to sign same-sex marriage licenses; instead, she has arranged for a deputy to issue all marriage licenses by appointment.

But when a lesbian couple who own a farm near here showed up at the town hall last month, the women said they were unwilling to wait.

Now Ms. Belforti is at the heart of an emerging test case, as national advocacy groups look to Ledyard for an answer to how the state balances a religious freedom claim by a local official against a civil rights claim by a same-sex couple.

Ms. Belforti, represented by a Christian legal advocacy group based in Arizona, the Alliance Defense Fund, is arguing that state law requires New York to accommodate her religious beliefs.

“New York law protects my right to hold both my job and my beliefs,” she said in an interview last week, pausing briefly to collect $50 from a resident planning to take 20 loads of refuse to the town dump. “I’m not supposed to have to leave my beliefs at the door at my government job.”

But the couple, Deirdre DiBiaggio and Katie Carmichael of Miami, are arguing that the law requires all clerks in New York to provide marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The couple are being represented by a liberal advocacy organization, People for the American Way, based in Washington.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/28/nyregion/rights-clash-as-town-clerk-rejects-her-role-in-gay-marriages.html?_r=1&ref=nyregion

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