As gay New Yorkers gear up for the Marriage Equality Act to become law on Sunday July 24--when state's clerk offices will remain open so couples don't have to wait "one day longer than they have to"-- at least one New York state clerk has resigned her position rather than sign her name to a same-sex marriage license, Reuters reports.
Laura Fotusky submitted a letter of resignation to the town board in Barker, a small town north of Binghamton, on Monday, saying her religious beliefs prevented her from marrying gay couples. New Yorkers For Constitutional Freedoms obtained a copy of the letter:
"To the Town of Barker Board, Supervisor Dilworth, Attorney Lewis and the Town Residents,"
"I have been in contact with Jason McGuire from New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, our Town Attorney, Richard Lewis, and a Constitutional Lawyer regarding the Marriage Equality Act that was passed June 24, 2011. There was no protection provided in the legislation for Town Clerks who are unable to sign these marriage licenses due to personal religious convictions, even though our US Constitution supports freedom of religion."
"I believe that there is a higher law than the law of the land. It is the law of God in the Bible. In Acts 5:29, it states, 'We ought to obey God rather than men.'"
"The Bible clearly teaches that God created marriage between male and female as a divine gift that preserves families and cultures. Since I love and follow Him, I cannot put my signature on something that is against God. Deuteronomy 10:12 says, '...What does the Lord your God ask of you but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways, to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and soul, and to observe the Lord's commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.'"
"I would be compromising my moral conscience if I participated in the licensing procedure. Therefore, I will be resigning as of July 21. I wanted you to know my position as I understand the marriage law goes into effect on July 24."
"It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve the Town as Barker Town Clerk."
State senators put language in the Marriage Equality Act that protected religious organizations from prosecution if they refused to marry same-sex couples. Some, however, think these protections need to be extended to non-religious people, such as photographers, wedding planners and others who refuse to be involved with a gay marriage.
Rev. Jason J. McGuire, Executive Director at New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, said, "It is unfortunate that when state senators were busy protecting liberal special interests and padding their campaign accounts, that they failed to protect good people of faith."
Governor Cuomo responded to the news Tuesday saying simply, "The law is the law, when you enforce the laws of the state, you don't get to pick and choose," The New York Daily News reports. He added, "You don't get to say, 'I like this law and I'll enforce this law, or I don't like this law and I won't enforce this law' -- you can't do that. So if you can't enforce the law, then you shouldn't be in that position."
Fotusky will step down from her position on July 21.