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Second New York Town Clerk Won't Perform Same-Sex Marriages

Another New York town clerk has resigned from her appointment as Marriage Officer rather than perform same-sex marriages. Guilderland, NY town clerk Rosemary Centi submitted a letter of resignation to Town Supervisor Ken Runion, the Times-Union reports:

Centi "This was a personal decision," said Centi of her response to the state's Marriage Equality Law, which takes effect July 24. "I would think everyone who has a personal choice should be allowed to have that personal choice without any kind of backlash."

Runion, however, said as a government official Centi should feel obligated to execute the law, no matter what her personal belief about marriage are.

"We all take oaths to follow the laws of the state and the town and the federal government," said Runion. "Same-sex marriages are permitted under the law and it's our duty to perform them."

Earlier this week, a town clerk from Barker, NY did the same, citing Biblical law as her reason for doing so.

Meanwhile, the NY Times reports, judges from all over the state are signing up to volunteer their time to perform marriages for gays and lesbians on Sunday, July 24, the day the marriage equality law goes into effect:

As one of several dozen judges across the state who have volunteered to play an official role in the new law’s first day, Justice Raffaele is part of one of the most unusual judicial mobilizations in years. From Buffalo to the Bronx and pretty much everywhere else in New York, judges are signing up for rare Sunday duty.

If same-sex couples want to marry that Sunday, only judges would have the authority to dispense with the 24-hour waiting period required by law. And those judges could then officiate on the spot.

(image times union)

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  1. Terrific, she's showing that her religious beliefs trump the laws and legalities of AMERICA.

    In what way would this woman's actions be any different from a cashier refusing to sell someone condoms because they "have a religious objection to birth control?"

    She doesnt' want to do her job> I'm glad she's quit. I wonder, as well, if she (like the previous quitter) has a history of objections to non-Christian marriages or non-religious ones?

    Yes? Or does her faith only come into play when dealing with Them Gays?

    Posted by: Little Kiwi | Jul 15, 2011 12:46:11 PM

  2. "I would think everyone who has a personal choice should be allowed to have that personal choice without any kind of backlash."

    If she were a racist who couldn't abide race-mixing and interracial marriage, would we excuse her behavior? No, because being racist is bad for society. She would have been forced to resign no matter what, and the appropriate public figures would excoriate her for hating others.

    Will we ever have the same standard for homophobia?

    Posted by: Daniel | Jul 15, 2011 12:47:09 PM

  3. While she should be respected for at least having the courage of her convictions, I'm happy that no loving couples will have to listen to her potential diatribes on the best day of their lives. Go with God, Ms. Centi, go with God.

    Posted by: yuninv | Jul 15, 2011 12:47:22 PM

  4. Well, I hope these 'personal decisions' and 'Biblical laws' will provide these two with paychecks. . .

    Posted by: Austin | Jul 15, 2011 12:49:10 PM

  5. I wish just ONE "journalist" would act like a real journalist and call these hypocrites out on their blatant hypocrisy.

    No one has had the cajones to ask her if she ever married people who were divorcees, or if she married non-Catholics, or non-virgins, or interfaith couples and if so then why? Does her precious religion not have a stance on these people marrying? Why does she only take such a strong, proud and public stand against ONE group that her Church forbids marriage to?

    Yet no one is willing to point out the obvious.

    Posted by: TampaZeke | Jul 15, 2011 12:49:49 PM

  6. Rosemary Centi and Laura Fotusky made the right decision. Marriage equality is now the law in their state and since they agree that they are unwilling to live up to their oaths as public servants, they are right to step aside. Other qualified individuals who are willing to obey state law and serve the NY taxpayers who fund their paychecks can be easily found. I commend Ms. Centi and Ms. Fotusky; this is how democracy works.

    Posted by: PAtrick | Jul 15, 2011 12:50:14 PM

  7. If you're not going to be part of the solution, get out of the way. That's just what these ladies did. Good for them, and god speed or whatever. Now just go away, ladies.

    Posted by: BoxerDad | Jul 15, 2011 12:55:23 PM

  8. If one quits a job without a valid reason, does one get unemployment benefits?

    Posted by: JimmyD | Jul 15, 2011 12:56:21 PM

  9. BYE!! Don't let the door hit you on the way out!

    Posted by: james | Jul 15, 2011 12:56:41 PM

  10. Before we congratulate her on standing by her beliefs (bigoted and small minded as they may be), please look carefully at her statement, and the incipient whine that implies that she's being forced to resign for standing up for her Christian beliefs.

    That's the "help, help, we're being oppressed!" refrain we're going to be hearing a lot over the next few weeks.

    Posted by: rens | Jul 15, 2011 12:57:42 PM

  11. Did she actually expect that in her small town she would ever need to perform a same-sex marriage? Also, in many small towns, it's the mayor that actually performs the ceremony. Everything else is just paperwork.

    Posted by: anon | Jul 15, 2011 1:00:25 PM

  12. "While she should be respected for at least having the courage of her convictions..."

    But she shouldn't because she doesn't.

    Are you seriously saying that she's never married one couple where one or both parties had been divorced? That she's never married one inter-"faith" couple where she "knows" for a fact that one of the parties is going to "hell" (man, it's hard to talk about crazy without using scare-quotes)?

    Of course she has. Where were her "convictions" then? Where was her "courage" then?

    She's a lousy, stinking, stupid, idiotic, foolish, delusional bigot who I am amazed has enough sense to be able to tie her own shoes -- provided she even can.

    And saying that is giving her WAY more respect than she deserves.

    Posted by: ohplease | Jul 15, 2011 1:01:21 PM

  13. If you've ever known a truly racist, intolerant individual, you'll know that many of them quietly but deliberately avoid situations where they are likely to encounter someone who is non-white or non-Christian. As LGBT people live more openly as part of mainstream American life, this sort of thing is going to happen more often in the future (but probably with much less fanfare).

    Posted by: Derek in DC | Jul 15, 2011 1:02:45 PM

  14. I could have stories confused, but I somehow got from this situation that she wasn't fully resigning, just rescinding the duties of her job that would directly involve handing marriage licenses over to gay & lesbian residents.

    Posted by: Jason | Jul 15, 2011 1:03:39 PM

  15. Oh, who cares. This isn't a story. Let all the haters resign, we're better off.

    Posted by: lankyguy | Jul 15, 2011 1:06:48 PM

  16. She's confused. She issues licenses for CIVIL marriages. CIVIL law says same sex partners can marry in the state of NY. I would not expect a Baptist pastor or Catholic priest to perform any same sex marriages.

    Civil Marriage VS. Religious ceremonial marriage in a church

    Posted by: Brian in Texas | Jul 15, 2011 1:12:10 PM

  17. What happened to "render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar's"? There are several other verses in her holy book (including at least one from Paul) that tell people to follow secular laws and authorities

    Posted by: Steve | Jul 15, 2011 1:17:09 PM

  18. Rosemary Centi and Laura Fotusky are 2 names that NOW can GO DOWN In NY history,for being on the WRONG SIDE of it.

    Posted by: Gay American | Jul 15, 2011 1:21:22 PM

  19. In the words of Raja from RuPaul's Drag Race:

    "Bye girl, bye."

    Posted by: The Milkman | Jul 15, 2011 1:22:47 PM

  20. Yes, it's very good to point out as some have done here that none of these Catholic clerks seemed to have a problem issuing and signing marriage licenses to and for people who were divorced.

    It is just the new meme which is that gay people aren't oppressed, but Christians are.

    Posted by: Jonathan | Jul 15, 2011 1:27:53 PM

  21. We're supposed to care because some whack job cares so much about strangers getting married that she feels the need to quit her job in this unstable economy? Sorry, I don't. Good luck with the Rapture!

    Posted by: Mikey | Jul 15, 2011 1:30:19 PM

  22. Meanwhile, hundreds of other Town Clerks are doing their job and not being publicity whores.

    Posted by: homer | Jul 15, 2011 1:34:02 PM

  23. While I respect her decision to resign, I must say that I don't quite understand it. Being in her position as Guilderland Town Clerk for over 10 years, I would hope that she would realize that the oath she took was to follow the laws of the state, the town and the federal government. As she surely knows, the marriage equality bill was passed by both the NY State Senate and New York Assembly, both consisting of members democratically elected to their posts by the people of NY state. It was signed into law by Governor Cuomo, also elected by the people of NY state. The entire process is one that is central to our democracy and one that I would hope a Town Clerk would understand and respect. It is not in her right as a government official not to follow the law. She cannot pick and choose as doing so would show a complete disregard for the political process and the laws of the state. She wasn't elected to make the laws. She was elected to issue licenses and complete other duties of Town Clerk as prescribed by state law. I'm hoping that she didn't just realize this.

    In addition, it appears that she doesn't have a clear understanding of the distinct difference between civil marriage, as granted by the state, and the sanctification of a marriage, as granted by a religious entity. The recent law has absolutely no impact on religious entities and their decisions on whether or not to sanctify marriage, a decision which is determined by their religious doctrine. Take divorce, for example. The state civil marriage laws have different requirements for issuing marriage licenses to divorced individuals than many religious entities have to sanctify one's marriage following divorce. Has she denied marriage licenses to divorced individuals in the past based on her religious beliefs and not state law? I would hope not as I think we can agree that would be absurd.

    Her websites promise to provide the "best possible service" and claims to "welcome all." It is a shame that she appears willing to do neither.

    Posted by: Dan | Jul 15, 2011 1:36:02 PM

  24. On the positive side - there's a new job opening for someone looking!

    Posted by: AERES | Jul 15, 2011 1:40:28 PM

  25. I think that rock she crawled out from under still has a vacancy.

    Posted by: Jack M | Jul 15, 2011 1:41:26 PM

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