RELIGION
10/11/2011 01:26 pm ET Updated Dec 11, 2011

Rose Marie Belforti, Town Clerk, Has Conservatives Rallying Around Her Over Same-Sex Marriage

By SCOTT RAPP
Religion News Service

LEDYARD, N.Y. (RNS) A conservative Christian group is behind a new YouTube video that features a town clerk explaining why she believes she should not have to comply with a state law and issue same-sex marriage licenses.

Ledyard Town Clerk Rose Marie Belforti's position has drawn heavy criticism, a possible lawsuit and an opponent to her re election bid.

"I am a Christian. The Bible tells me that marriage is between a man and a woman so I don't feel I can endorse the new (state) law. I don't feel it is right," Belforti says on the video.

The Courage Fund, an offshoot of the Christian lobbying group, New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms, produced the video, according to Jason McGuire, executive director of the state lobbying organization. His group represents about 5,000 evangelical churches in the state and opposes New York's same-sex marriage law.

"We wanted to raise awareness about what's going on, and we wanted to let the clerks tell their stories in their own words," McGuire said.

Belforti told town officials that she would not grant same-sex marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs. The town has since assigned that duty to a deputy clerk.

A lesbian couple from Florida who own a house in the area are threatening to sue after they tried to get a marriage license from
Belforti and were told to come back another time.

Belforti's Republican primary challenger, Ed Easter, believes Belforti should follow the law or resign from office.

"I think the citizens of Ledyard pay their taxes and expect ...their officials to do their jobs," Easter said. "You have a right to your religion but it doesn't say she gets to do what she wants to do."

(Scott Rapp writes for The Post-Standard in Syracuse, N.Y.)

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