Anti-gay NY Town Clerk Still Granting Marriage Licenses Exclusively to Opposite-Sex Couples
If you paid any attention to the anti-gay aftermath following New York’s legalization of marriage equality back in 2011, you might recall the name Rose Marie Belforti. She was the Ledyard, New York town clerk who announced at the time that she would henceforth refuse to sign any marriage licenses because her religious beliefs prevented her from signing them for same-sex couples.
Since that time, however, Belforti has violated her own pledge and gone ahead with signing marriage licenses for heterosexual couples, Gay City News reports:
“I can actually say that I am sorry that I had to do that and I had to violate my own rule,” Rose Marie Belforti, the Ledyard town clerk, told Gay City News in a January 3 phone interview.
In August of 2011, just over one month after same-sex couples began marrying in New York, Belforti refused to issue a marriage license to a lesbian couple, citing her religious beliefs. In the fall of that year, Belforti and Ledyard’s Republican-controlled town council agreed that she would no longer issue any marriage licenses and a part-time deputy clerk would handle that responsibility by appointment only.
In one instance, the couple needed the license quickly, Belforti said. She offered no explanation for issuing the second marriage license.
“I do make every effort to do what I said I was going to do,” Belforti said. “I was in an expedited situation and I did it for them… I didn’t feel good about that either.”
Previous concerns surrounding county clerks refusing to sign marriage licenses to same-sex couples have shown that Belforti could now be in serious hot water:
The Marriage Equality Act provides that an application for a marriage license cannot be denied on the grounds that the applicant parties are of the same sex and the law affords no discretion to public officials charged with granting marriage licenses. Therefore, any such refusal may be subject to criminal prosecution."