Christian clerk refuses to issue gay marriage licenses

And of course, she’s now being sued over it.  It’s unfolding in the upstate New York town of Ledyard.  Details, from the New York Times:

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.

“Gay people have fought so long and hard to get these civil rights,” said Ms. Carmichael, 53, a filmmaker. “To have her basically telling us to get in the back of the line is just not acceptable.”

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48 responses to “Christian clerk refuses to issue gay marriage licenses”

  1. This is gonna be interesting.

    Maybe some of these people quoted want to take a logic/rhetoric class with Fr. Longnecker.

  2. I wonder about the “no Religious test” clause of the U.S. Constitution? Lots of commenters at the NYT site were essentially saying, “If a person’s religious beliefs forbid them from performing some duty in public office, they are unfit for public office.” Doesn’t that amount to a de facto religious test? I’d be really interested to hear a lawyer talk about that possibility.

  3. Let’s reverse this for a moment. A clerk in {pick your town} holds to the teachings of her faith, {insert name here}, which teaches that it is a sin for men and women to marry, that only same-sex marriages are proper. She refuses to sign the license of a heterosexual couple, and they sue claiming discrimination under that state’s laws. In this hypothetical case, should the clerk prevail or the heterosexual couple?

    Yes, this may sound like a crazy scenario, but if you are supporting the position of the Ms. Belforti in Ledyard, are you not also supporting the position of the clerk in my example?

    Also, if a Christian clerk as a right to not sign marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs, do Muslim women have a right to wear a hijab in the workplace?

  4. Some Christians believe- based on faith- that races should not mix in marriage. Should they be granted an exception to refuse service to a couple of two races?

  5. I wonder if everyone here would be OK with a Muslim town clerk who refused to issue a business license to a German-style butcher shop because it would sell pork, which Islam forbids. Pretty much the same thing, wouldn’t you say?

    The “no religious test” clause doesn’t obtain in a case like this. A person is free to run for, and be elected to, the position of town clerk. What they are not free to do is apply their own personal religious test before providing services that citizens are entitled by law to receive, and that the town clerk is obligated by law to provide.

  6. If the Muslim clerk had a subordinate issue the license to a German-style butcher,shop, I see no problem.

  7. What if a mom and her son came up wanting a marriage license and were refused? What if a brother and sister came up for a license and were refused? What if a man and his pet goat came up for a license?

    We refuse people all the time for different things. A 21 year old can enter a bar and get a drink, but an 18 year old cannot get that same drink but can be go to war, be sued, and can go to jail with adults.

    Society has established standards for many things over time. Many of the laws are based around behavior choices. We cannot rob someone or hit someone. Most of our laws come out of a belief system of some type. Most would say that the best laws are those that come out of Christian beliefs.

    The problem I have with what has happened in NY is that they did not allow the people to vote on the change and so it is probably against what the majority would desire for their state.

    In fact, I do not know of any laws we have that grant rights for behavior choices. We are all born with weaknesses which society may have established are ones we have to constrain. If one is born with a desire for sex with children, we do not say that because he or she was born that way, we need to make it legal and normal. If one is born with an attraction to ones sister or brother, we tell them to control this desire and if needed, to remain celbate. Why this one behavior over others? If we misuse the 14th amendment written to help freed black slaves to reward a specific behavior, why cannot that same legal logic be used for brothers and sisters?

    What if NY legislators vote that torture of prisoners is legal to gain information to save lives and a clerk decides that they do not want to participate in the torture of prisoners? Should they be supported or should we say it is the law and thus if they don’t follow it, they should stop being a clerk or soldier or CIA employee? I would bet that many who would call for this clerks job, would support a soldier who refused to abide by the law. Isn’t she allowed to protest what she considers bad law? Segregation was the law of the land when MLK protested and marched refusing to go along with what he called evil but the southern democrats believed their way of life and legal as voted by the state?

  8. What stands out to me in this case is that the gay couple were NOT being refused a license, only not to their “instant gratification” liking.

    This happens all the time. Just recently I stopped by my bank for a service. After waiting in line, the teller told me that she doesn’t do that, and the person who does is at lunch. She apologized and told me I could either wait or come back.

    Yeah it was an inconvenience, but I didn’t speed dial my attorney to sue. I came back the next day and got needed what I needed to get done, just as the gay couple could do.

    And this is the crux of the matter with the gay issues, it’s NEVER enough. They wanted tolerance, most reasonable people gave it; it wasn’t enough. Now they want more than our tolerence, they want our INCLUSION into their agenda, or…they will make life hard for us. Next it will be the churches, not because they want to be a part of us, at least most of them, but because they can destroy us if we refuse.

    This is why we need a president like Herman Cain, someone who is finally going to stop the bs political correcteness and tel it like it is.

    The bottom line here is that this couple CAN get a marriage license, even in spite of it not being the will of the people. For that they should count their blessings and chill out, as their “agenda” is obvious.

  9. Is opposition to gay marriage more like Jewish/Muslim opposition to eating pork, or is it more like the opposition Catholics and others have to abortion? In other words, is opposition grounded in religious teachings alone, or is it based on natural and universal moral law? It makes a big difference in this case. If the clerk’s aversion to issuing the licenses is “purely” religious, then she should not hold the position. On the other hand, if her opposition is similar to that of an OB/GYN nurse who refuses to participate in abortions, then all people of good will should support her refusal to cooperate in an activity that is morally evil even if this particular moral evil happens to be sanctioned by her state.

  10. Ron Chandonia #9: “In other words, is opposition grounded in religious teachings alone, or is it based on natural and universal moral law?”

    How should US or state law address this question? Who gets to determine if an issue is grounded in religious teachings alone or part of natural/universal moral law?

    Who gets to define this for our government?

  11. To the trolls:

    Richard: The problem with your hypothetical is that there is no religion, nor has there ever been a religion that aheres to it. Even if someone attempted to create a religion of that nature at this point in modern society, it wouldn’t be accepted because it’s motives would be purely obvious. Religion, at its heart, has the search for God or transcendence as its motive (i.e. all relgions of the world). Your proposed religion doesn’t not have that motive, your proposed religion’s motive is merely to legitimize sexual encounters that are not supported by biology or natural law. There is no “seeking” anything. It actually has less legitimacy than those who have attempted to have the “Jedi” movement established as a religion, because even that presupposes that there is some Force in the universe and transcendence at its core. In other words, you didn’t think through your hypothetical very well and ended up sounding rather elementary as far as the ability to reason is concerned.

    Thom SFO: Which Christian denomination is that? I know that such a belief would be tested for legitimacy by Christian tradition and would certainly be proven as not being legitimate. Not only is such an absurdity not recorded in Scripture (eliminating the Protestant fundamentalist claim) but such a tradition has never existed in Catholicism, the only Christian Church who can trace its roots legitimately to Christ and His Apostles… considering as well that the Church has been in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East since Apostolic times, it would seem odd that She would descriminate against people who have darker skin since those people were some of the first to hear the Gospel from the Apostles themselves. My patron saint is St. Augustine, by the way, who was Northern African (4th century).

    Makarios: No, this is untrue. For a Muslim to not consume pork himself is a dietary law. Now if a Muslim prepares pork for others to eat, he’s not breaking this law. Or he may choose to not prepare pork for others to eat, in order to keep others from breaking his dietary law, and in that case, you wouldn’t even be able to buy pork at his butchery. I’m pretty sure what you’d end up doing is going to another butchery to purchase pork instead of suing him, if you were that hell bent on doing so. And you’re analogy is totally ridiculous and condescending to Muslims. They don’t care if you consume pork, they just don’t do it (because it’s THEIR dietary law). However, they object to same-sex “marriage” because it’s completely contrary to nature, biology, and God’s law. Yet another really bad and elementary analogy.

  12. I’m glad the gay “marriage” trolls popped in because they always prove how illogical their position is.

    They are fundamentalists, as bad as Al Qaida. Except their position or suffer the consequences, regardless of how illogical it is.

  13. I’m pretty sure that the lawyer(s) handling the case of this misguided couple, who are commiting a crime against nature itself, are going to have much better arguments that the trolls who have posted here. But, I sure hope they don’t… because if their argumentation is similar, this misguided couple doesn’t have a chance to prove the legitimacy of their argument.

  14. I have to admire Ms. Belforti for holding to her convictions but it seems like we are missing a couple of points in the discussion. In her role as the Clerk she has to uphold and enforce the laws. She does not have the ability to make the law or pick and choose which are enforced. If her faith leads her to believe that same sex marriage in morally repugnant then she must either reconcile the execution of her responsibilities with her faith and complete the duties or she must resign. Strongly held moral and ethical beliefs don’t make us immune to consequences in this world. The history of the blessed martyrs give testimony to this basic, painful reality.

    A second point is that she may not be able to resign due to her responsibilities to her family and so on. It would be much handier if every situation were very simple but most are not. Maybe she will have to perform the responsibilities of the position she has taken even if she does not agree with the law and then pray for the souls of these people who come in wanting to exercise this right to commit a grevious sin. God gave us free will. Some people do not choose wisely and they desperately need our prayers.

  15. Two things:

    1. NY law requires that the town clerk issue marriage licenses or, if there is some reason why they can’t, arrange for a deputy to do so. What this article doesn’t say is that this is a VERY SMALL town in upstate NY where they don’t have a regular deputy on staff. Still, Ms. Belforti has arranged for a deputy to issue licenses to same-sex couples but since there is no regular deputy employed by the town it must simply be done by appointment. She is making a provision under the law for same-sex couples. The plaintiffs have no real case they are just grabbing for publicity.

    2. The Lesbian couple in question own property in Ledyard but DO NOT LIVE THERE! The article even mentions they live in Miami. One person in the couple is originally from Ledyard, NY and owns property there. But, Florida doesn’t allow same-sex marriage. So, in the manner of carpet-baggers, they are going to NY simply to get married. THAT’S why they don’t want to make an appointment and wait. They want their marriage pdq so they can get back to Florida. It would be one thing if they lived in Ledyard all the time and felt they were being treated unfairly (which they aren’t). This is just a case of wanting what they want when they want it and thinking they can use the law to brow-beat people into submission.

    Yet another case of blatant intolerance from those who cry for tolerance all the time. Everyone can be accommodated here. The clerk can stay faithful to her beliefs and still provide a deputy to grant licenses to same-sex couples. The couple can get their license and then high-tail it back to Florida. The fact that they have to wait is a function of the town that they are, essentially, taking advantage of is really small. TOUGH. If they lived there full-time and were active contributing members to the life and well-being of that community they might have a case. Then again, if they lived there full-time and really cared about that community they would probably also understand that folks who live in small towns can’t always get everything right away and they’d simply be patient so that the deputy could give them their license while also respecting the beliefs of the clerk.

  16. Like it or not, the USA Constitution and Declaration of Independence are based on Christian principles. Men and women marry and raise a famiy and society benefits from their marriage. Simple

    People who do not marry have more problems with their children who do not do as well in school, get in trouble more……look on the internet and see reports written by some good people. Information

    Committing to a marriage of a m an and a woman is fairly simple. Healthwise and financial wise and children who grow up and contribute to society in a positive way ——— it works. Moral principles

    When people do NOT stand up for the right, society loses much. Look what has happened over the past 40 years….we are just NOW standing up and saying abortion is not good for….you name it: Social Security, women and men’s health, family health, millions of lost souls spiritually and physically. See Don’t take my word for it.

    How many people celebrate their abortions with a party: come and meet Dr. Smith…he killed my 2nd, 3rd and 4th child…..he is such a nice person!

    Yea…a real charmer with the ladies!!!!

    Patricia in St. Louis, MO

  17. Joseph, less than ten years ago Bob Jones University, a Baptist college, prohibited interracial dating on religious grounds. Many still adhere to this view. They can even provide “scriptural proof.”

    Additionally, one is not a “troll” simply for providing an alternate point of view.

  18. Joseph #11: “The problem with your hypothetical is that there is no religion, nor has there ever been a religion that aheres to it. Even if someone attempted to create a religion of that nature at this point in modern society, it wouldn’t be accepted because it’s motives would be purely obvious.”

    Actually, there are ministers who are taking such a stand. Perhaps you need to broaden your study of this issue.

    “As support to grant legal standing to same sex couples gains momentum, the voices of several individual members of the UU clergy have been heard on this issue, and the list of UU clergy supporting same-sex marriage (and who refuse to sign marriage licenses until such rights are granted to all) continues to grow. The Rev. Fred Small (Littleton, MA), the Rev. F. Jay Deacon (Northampton, MA), and the Rev. Kathleen McTigue (Hamden, CT) have spearheaded action in their communities along with other members of the clergy, and media coverage of their positions is included here.”

    A member of one of these congregations might well adopt the position that their religion prohibits them from signing a marriage license until and unless both heterosexual and homosexual couples can marry.

    However, unless you can find the word “legitimate” in the First Amendment the point you raise is irrelevant Your notion would put the government in the business of determining the legitimacy of a citizen’s religious belief, something that has been done in the past much to the disappointment of many faiths (including Catholicism).
    Do you really trust the government to decide the legitimacy of your religious belief?

    I support the clerk’s right to refrain from signing these licenses, just as I would support the right of a Muslim female clerk to wear a hijab to work. The burden in this case falls on the county to both provide for her free exercise of her religious faith and to provide service to all residents of the county. The notion that someone should have to make an appointment at a courthouse to have a standard form filled out and signed is ludicrous. Do you have to make an appointment to get your car license renewed, register to vote, pay your taxes, or get your cat/dog license? Why, then, should a couple have to make an appointment to get a marriage license?

  19. Thom SFO,

    Simply put, the Baptist position you are speaking of is one that is not held by most Baptist denominations and, since there is no unity of belief, this belief would not hold up as a “Christian belief” but rather a belief obstinately held by a small sect. And, it wasn’t the Baptist belief that led to segregation, it was a long-held cultural-political stance (for slavery to be accepted as it was, slave owners and the culture at the time were forced to come to the logical conclusion that blacks were lesser-beings and did not have the same human dignity, or weren’t human at all, that they had to remain intellectually honest – similar to the mindset of the Nazi’s and abortion proponents). Obviously, that stance, if following its implications, leads to the idea that whites could not marry blacks because it would be contrary to nature since marrying a black would be no different than marrying an animal. So, the idea was not “borne” of Christianity (as can be easily proven via tradition and 2000 years of Catholic teaching), it was borne of secular convenience… a matter of profit. Similar to the Nazi’s excuse to kill Jews or the pro-abortionists excuses to kill unborn children.

    Christian tradition and history, therefore, can disprove that this Baptist belief, if still in existence, is not a Christian or religious belief… so it wouldn’t stand in court.

  20. Richard,

    That doesn’t disprove my argument. Those “ministers” are not practicing a religion at all. They are making a decision based on the current socio-political direction of the wind… just like the Southern Baptists who claimed, as a matter of faith, that whites couldn’t marry blacks.

    It’s not a religious claim, it’s a political one. And since it does not exist in the realm of religion, your hypothetical is still false no matter how many “ministers” of the secular realm appear out of the thin air of modernity.

  21. “Additionally, one is not a “troll” simply for providing an alternate point of view.”

    Well if the SFO means Secular Franciscan, I hope you aren’t advocating same sex marriage.

  22. Patricia Cornell,

    I’d watch out before making the claim that the US Constitution had, at its foundation, Christian belief. I don’t think anything necessarily opposed Christian teaching, but that doesn’t meant that it was a Christian document. Many of the founding fathers were anti-Catholic members of societies that were opposed to Christian dogma in the first place.

    So, if their documents seemed aligned with Christianity, it would only be because Reason aligns with Christianity, despite what the modernists like to pretend.

  23. RomCath,

    I know a lot of Secular Franciscans, and many of the ones I know are anything but followers of St. Francis (some, in particular, show anger towards Church teaching, logic, reason, natural law, and science). I wouldn’t doubt this one is in that camp.

  24. Also Richard,

    I just re-read my first argument towards you in my first comment. It handles your “comeback” quite nicely. So, on second thought, I didn’t need to answer to your “comeback” but just should have simply directed you back to my first comment.

    Here it is again:
    Richard: The problem with your hypothetical is that there is no religion, nor has there ever been a religion that aheres to it. Even if someone attempted to create a religion of that nature at this point in modern society, it wouldn’t be accepted because it’s motives would be purely obvious. Religion, at its heart, has the search for God or transcendence as its motive (i.e. all relgions of the world). Your proposed religion doesn’t not have that motive, your proposed religion’s motive is merely to legitimize sexual encounters that are not supported by biology or natural law. There is no “seeking” anything. It actually has less legitimacy than those who have attempted to have the “Jedi” movement established as a religion, because even that presupposes that there is some Force in the universe and transcendence at its core. In other words, you didn’t think through your hypothetical very well and ended up sounding rather elementary as far as the ability to reason is concerned.

  25. “Do you really trust the government to decide the legitimacy of your religious belief?”

    That has always and everywhere been done throughout history, often incorrectly (England, Germany, Communist Russia, Fascist Spain and Italy, National Socialism, Japan, Ottoman Empire, Roman Empire, the Egyptians, the Babylonians, Israelites, etc.). The answer is an obvious “NO”, because government ethics are always dominated by the subjective ideals of those who rule, and, whenever government has dabbled in matters of religion, it has always ended in the persecution of its people. I’m speaking from objectivity. Legitimate religion can be reasonably determined on whether or not there is a search for the Divine. Anything other than that is not authentic religion (Religion 101). Something that seeks to justify a modern secular whim that is opposed to nature, science, and reason is not a religion, but an illogical political movement.

  26. If Rose Marie Belforti can no longer perform the duties of town clerk due to a conflict between her beliefs and the requirements of her position, she must resign, or face dismissal.

    America is governed by the rule of law. Those laws are made by elected officials, not civil servants or clergy. All people stand as equals before the law.

    This case will be tried in a court of law, not in a church. The person who will rule on the case will be a lawyer skilled enough to have become a judge. It will not be ruled on by a pastor, priest, rabbi, or ayatollah.

    The employment contract of civil servants requires them to enforce laws and perform duties as described by law. Mrs Belforti has chosen not to perform her duty. That choice negatively impacts the citizens who require her service. Whatever the job be it fireman, police officer, town clerk, or soldier; civil servants must perform the duties of their position without regard for their personal beliefs. Civil servants know this, especially a town clerk.

    Suppose there were three couples in line, all to get marriage licenses. The straight couple in line before, and behind the gay couple both got licenses immediately on asking, but the gay couple was told to wait. That would be a clear case of discrimination and dereliction of duty by the town clerk. It is just as unacceptable if only a gay couple were present.

    A town clerk is not free to preempt the will of an elected state assembly and retain her job.

    Mrs. Belforti must resign or be fired. Otherwise, America ceases to be ruled by law.

  27. Another long one, I see, featuring all the usual suspects. I wish posters on same-sex marriage would preface their comments with the statement “I agree with Catholic teaching on homosexuality” or the statement “I disagree with Catholic teaching on homosexuality.” Or perhaps those phrases could simply substitute for the posts themselves. That way, we would not have to read such tortuous attempts to circumvent what the Church says should appear evidently wrong to any rational human being.

  28. T. Alan,

    Yes, every nation has laws, but laws do not equal morality, and some of those laws contradict reason, nature, science, and morality, in which case we, as Catholics, should disobey those laws. You seem to be advocating for Caesar as he murdered Christians of the nascent Church because they did not worship idols… judging by your logic.

  29. Joseph #27: “Legitimate religion can be reasonably determined on whether or not there is a search for the Divine.”

    I honestly cannot argue with you on that. But when it comes to the laws of our nation and protection against religious discrimination, who is the arbiter of whether there is a search for the Divine? Ultimately, with respect to the laws of the land, it must be government.

  30. The Gospels say that remarriage after divorcee is adultery.

    What does this clerk do to stop these from happening?

    Or does she simply believe in special rights for heterosexuals?

  31. Joseph #20: “Simply put, the Baptist position you are speaking of is one that is not held by most Baptist denominations and, since there is no unity of belief, this belief would not hold up as a “Christian belief” but rather a belief obstinately held by a small sect.”

    Joseph, you might wish to research Baptist history just a bit more before you make such pronouncements. This position was definitely held by a sufficient number of Baptists in the southern states that the Baptists suffered a great schism in 1845, and the schismatic group (the Southern Baptists) now forms one of the largest protestant denominations in the US.

    In the years prior to the Civil War a number of Baptist state conventions went on record supporting slavery, opposing interracial marriage, and stating unequivocally that the Bible fully supported their views. Dr. Richard Furman, a Baptist minister in South Carolina, was instructed by his state’s Baptist convention to write to the governor of the state expressing the sense of the convention that the state should act to put down any efforts at agitating the slaves.

    Certainly in the intervening years the Baptists moderated their position on slavery, and in 1995 they issued an apology for these actions.

    You are absolutely correct when you say that today only a fringe group holds to the belief that the Bible supports slavery or separation of the races as was practiced in this nation at one time. Belief and practice changed, and today a strong case is made from the Bible against such practices.

    I wonder if such a similar change will occur with regards to homosexuality over the next 50-75 years?

  32. Here is a another law. I suppose that the “trolls” would agree with the court in this case too because it “is the law of the land?”

    Most people need to realize that the legal system of the West was not formed in a vacuum or created out of nothing. It stems from ancient Roman tradition with a very heavy infusion of Catholic influence historically. After the Reformation then protestantism in the Germanic/ Engish speaking areas.

    So I gather what the “trolls” are saying is that we should obey the law NY enacted because that is the law- what a silly argument. I suppose under Stalin, Hitler or Mao, etc they would say that jews should have been exterminated (as well as the genocide of other ethnicities and races), eugenics and so on should have been done because it was the law and those who disobey should have been punished by the law.

    People need to realize the law is based on something else- something called morality. A law should be obeyed because it is right- not because it is the law. If they had said that it was right and explained why then perhaps they would have deserved at least a hearing but since they mindlessly repeat the same thing as Hitler’s subordinates did at their trials- I was ordered to (ie its the law) they really merit no hearing as they don’t even grasp the fullness of what they are saying and can not or will not acknowledge the logical conclusion of their mode of reasoning. That is the conduct of people should be regulated by the regime in power at the time and that whatever it determines to be lawful at the time should be obeyed without question and if it later issues a contrary law at some other time then that law should be obeyed and even if the other law was not previously rescinded then whoever breaks either law should be punished according to the law. After all the law is “all supreme.”

  33. As far as sodomy being “okay”- refer to to the arguments of natural law. If everyone has the right to do whatever they want then we will have a hard time denying that some people have the right to murder others whebever they felt like it.

    If you say then well people of course do not have the right to hurt others then what about if a person to save the life of an innocent victim had to hurt the person intent upon murdering them? Do they have the right or duty? According to the previous mode of reasoning they can’t because no one has the right to deny or hurt. What philosophical and psycho babble rubbish. Then you don’t have the right to hurt the clerk by “taking her job away.” Try no to contradict yourselves next time.

    We only have to right to do what is right. What is right is not some warm cuddly feeling or justified by psycho babble but objectively true irregardless of our emotions and warm cuddly feelings (as well as the “majority” at times). Instead of people primarily focusing on their rights they should focus on their duties. All people have the duty to contribute to a meaningful and useful society if they chose to remain in it- that is why we have the concept of laws and a legal system (and elections). Sodomy can not create a family. Rather it destroys a society and destroys the individuals who suffer from it in that society. It subjects the participants to meaningless/ purposeless sexual passions. That and contraception (the modern mind set regarding the primary purpose of sex) degrades people to the level of animals (no denigration intended). Those who can be rulers of themselves and their passions become enslaved by those meaningless or rather self destructive passions. You know what happens to a society where people can not restrain their passion? Everytime they become decadent and the society is invaded and collapses. Read of the end of Rome and all the others. How can those who can not rule themselves run a society?

    There a “religious” argument with out religion.

    For those who don’t believe the above just don’t forget the phrase that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. It will happen again if it is not curtailed.

  34. Am I missing something here? I seems to me that the clerk is not in fact refusing this pair a licence but simply saying that ,while she is not willing to do it for reasons of conscience or religious belief, they will simply have to wait for another official to issue said licence. Carmichael’s argument about having to stand in line is nonsense . No state can tolerate or afford to have its citizens demand a service when ever it suits the individual. The matter requires that the individuals request be dealt with in a reasonable time. It is pretty clear that the real issue is not whether or not these two get said licence but that they get it when they demand it which is as nonsensical as a situation where they demanded said licence when the clerk’s was closed to the public. AMDG

  35. Richard Johnson:

    “Joseph, you might wish to research Baptist history just a bit more before you make such pronouncements.”

    I think my point is going over your head. Whether or not Baptists at any time held this belief is irrelevant, for it is not one derived from religion (its motive has nothing to do with seeking the Divine or transcendence), rather it used religion as justification for a socio-political platform that had profits as it’s foundation and was also a view commonly held at the time (because to not hold it was a threat to particular economies). Not only that, this view was a novelty to Christian tradition, just as the Baptist sect was itself.

  36. IMO, it is not her job to pass judgement on who is getting a marriage license. Her job is to issue it —period. If that displeases her faith—perhaps she should look for a new job.

  37. Geta #7: A man and his goat? Please! This article is about 2 consentng, non-related adults who want to get a marriage license. They happen to be of the same gender. There is no harm in that—as in a mother/son or brother/sister situation. There are biological reasons those are not a good idea. Denying them is as ridiculous as denying those of different races from marriage.

  38. I support the clerk. She didn’t refuse. The Deputy would have done it. It bothers me that we are supposed to validate the rights of the Lesbian couple but invalidate the rights and feelings of the clerk. I think their attitude is an an affront to their own cause. It shows the unwillingness of them to care about the feelings or rights of others. Shout your gayness loud and proud but those with other beliefs are supposed to sit quietly or just shut up.
    I won’t.

  39. Thomas Pray, exactly. How dare they, as citizens, expect to be treated as equal to other, more popular citizens. It’s perfectly fine for representatives of the State, in her duties for the State, to say “Next. Next. Next. Oh, you have to make an appointment, later, with not-me. Next.”, and whoever she turns away should simply take it laying down.
    Martin Luther King, in his wisdom, wrote about how such unpopular people should go away quietly and not make a fuss in a letter he wrote while, um, spending time in Birmingham.

  40. Here’s the reality. Let’s assume some of the NY clerks do believe that gay marriage should be allowed. If any one of them had, prior to the new law taking effect, begun issuing certificates to gay couples, the Deacon and bigots would have been quick to state that the law requires that the license not be issued and the marriage voided. You don’t get it both ways. For a religious person to allow any religious ideal to be factored into law, you must be NUTS. If we begin making allowances for religion to further influence our laws then we are taking steps toward a national religion. That may seem fine to you if the religion is of your choosing, but what if it’s not. What if it’s atheism or any other religion you don’t choose? Then it’s not such a fun idea.

    Religious freedoms should not be pushed on others. If Rose Marie Belforti wants to work, she can write out that license and then complain about it on an online blog if she wants, but she needs to check her bigotry at the sidewalk before she enters the public grounds she was hired to work for. There are doctors that don’t like fat people. I’ve heard one say, “Her health problems are due to her unwillingness to stop eating and lose weight,” but you’d not likely stand for her to be turned away at the emergency room because the doctor on staff happens to be a health nut who believes that fat Christians should just pray for health and a little less food sources. Would you? Or would you?

  41. cy

    That’s a false analogy, because in this case the clerk had an assistant who would issue the licenses. It’s nothing like turning somebody away from the emergency. It’s more like ER doctor A asking ER doctor B to care for the patient.

  42. A tolerant country makes accommodations for the sincerely held religious beliefs of its citizens, whether it is allowing medical personnel to refuse to perform abortions or administer abortifacient, or allowing a clerk to designate a substitute to perform morally repugnant duties.

    A totalitarian country rides roughshod over the consciences of its citizens.

  43. It’s worth adding:

    Being opposed to sexual activity between people of the same gender on purely religious grounds, and being unwilling to support publicly such activity (even though it’s legal), doesn’t make one a bigot.

    Having disdain or hatred for people with religious convictions, however, does.

    Dcn. G.

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