Sherrie Eriksen, a town clerk in Root, New York, this week denied a marriage license to a gay couple based on her religious beliefs. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo says he is investigating.
The incident was first reported on Facebook by Dylan Toften, one of the men seeking the license. He wrote: “Town of Root clerk is a bigot!!!! Refused to do our marriage license. She said make an appointment to have her deputy do it… do your job.”
The Daily Gazette spoke with Town Attorney Robert Subik about the incident. Said Subik: “Sherrie didn’t process the two men’s marriage license application because they failed to make an appointment with her, as everyone is required by her office to do. She has a religious objection and has referred the matter to her deputy clerk, who has no such objection and will issue the license when they make an appointment. The clerks are both part-time and don’t man the office Monday through Friday. Of course, the two men are free to go to another jurisdiction to obtain their license.”
Governor Cuomo, whom Toften tagged in his Facebook post, says he is looking into the incident, tweeting: “The denial of a marriage license to a same sex couple yesterday in Montgomery County is an unconscionable act of discrimination that goes against our values as New Yorkers. I am directing an investigation into this incident to ensure that it never happens again.”
The denial of a marriage license to a same sex couple yesterday in Montgomery County is an unconscionable act of discrimination that goes against our values as New Yorkers. I am directing an investigation into this incident to ensure that it never happens again. https://t.co/NAX9963vDt
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) August 1, 2018
Toften and his partner, who intend to marry later this month, obtained a license in the nearby town of Cobleskill, and thanked supporters in a separate Facebook post: “I would like to take a second and thank everyone for the love and support that we have received from across this state and country. What happened to my fiancee and was wrong but I have faith that our state and our govenor that justice will be served. THANK YOU ALL SO VERY MUCH!!! #NOHATE #LoveWins #MyRightsMatter❤🧡💛💚💙💜🤵🤵💍🍾”