A bank in New Jersey refused notary service to the managing director of American Atheists because of the groups atheist affiliation.
Amanda Knief, managing director of American Atheists, Inc., was refused notary service at a TD bank in Cranford, New Jersey, on Tuesday.
In a Facebook post Knief reports: “I was just refused service — because I am an atheist. It was embarrassing, humiliating, and it pissed me off.”
According to her statement, Knief and American Atheists President Dave Silverman visited the TD Bank in Cranford to have some documents signed. When the notary realized who and what the documents were for, the notary refused to sign the documents because of “personal reasons.”
The following is an excerpt from Knief’s Facebook post:
A notary at a local bank, where I have gone more than a dozen times to have work documents signed, asked me to explain what we were having notarized. The documents were charitable organizations registrations for American Atheists in several states. So I told her what AA is about. She looked down, then looked at me and [American Atheists President] Dave Silverman and said she couldn’t sign the documents because of “personal reasons” and went to find another notary who was eating his lunch to come do the authentications.
I have been called names, threatened, hated on and all manner of ridiculed because of my atheist activism, but I think sitting in a bank and having another professional refuse to do business with me because I am an atheist was the worst slight I have ever received…
“This is completely unacceptable, and far from over,” Knief wrote, noting this was the first time out of “more than a dozen” visits to the bank that there have been any problems.
Unfortunately, under current laws, what the notary public did was legal, Knief explains: “In New Jersey, notaries are not required to abide by any code of conduct or ethics that prevents them from refusing service to people based on ‘personal reasons.’ Even though we had a valid, legal document and valid, legal identification — she was legally able to refuse me service.”
Raw Story notes the organization’s legal team is drafting proposed legislation to keep this kind of discrimination from happening again.