August 12th, 2011
Anti-gay activists have a sense of entitlement that seems to know no bounds. They are entitled, they believe, to live their life without even acknowledging the existence of gay people. And furthermore, they are entitled to be free of the offense of knowing that you exist even when they have to hunt you down (like The Peter sneaking into a Leatherman event) in order to be offended.
When marriage equality was proposed in New York, victims abounded.
First there were the children, oh the children, same-sex marriage would harm the children. But after years of marriage in other states, they haven’t been able to identify any children who were in any way harmed.
So on they went to Society and the sacred institute of the marriage registry. But the harm to Society is intangible and it’s hard to pity a computer file, so it was religious freedom that they built their claim. The poor preachers and priests who would be forced to sanctify sin.
But most gay people (and all elected officials) are sympathetic to the indignity of a minister being forced to go against her beliefs, so exceptions were made for religious marriage. Even church halls are exempt.
The anti-gay ran individual business owners up the flagpole, but that one didn’t resonate. In this economy, there were probably more business owners secretly thinking “I hope my pastor doesn’t find out that I ran an ad in the gay newspaper” than were wanting to alienate any potential customers. And they’ve learned that when someone tells a news reporter, “I don’t want to sell to that kind of person” that it’s not a winning situation.
But the anti-gays didn’t have anything other options, so they stuck with their “religious freedom” guns. Surely there were victims if they looked hard enough. If gay people marry then someone will… well, be less religiously free in some way and we’ll get back to you on the details.
Then they found their victims, the town clerks who are forced to put their signature – their very own personal signature – on homosexual “marriage” licenses. And a clerk promptly came forward to sacrifice her job, to live by her values rather than cooperate with sin. Laura L. Fotusky, the Town Clerk of Barker, resigned:
“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.'”
“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.”
Now, I am one who completely supports Ms. Fotusky’s decision to obey God rather than man. Provided, of course, that God is signing her paycheck. Otherwise, taxpayers are taxpayers.
Actually, I do pity poor Laura. It’s not likely that she would have given it a second thought, if the anti-gay activists hadn’t told her what her moral conscience has to say. After all, it didn’t seem to be troubled by divorced people, mixed faith couples, those who were clearly incompatible, or those who were not financial prepared for marriage. And unless her Bishop has hired her as church secretary, he really owe her an apology.
But much as I sympathize for poor Laura’s plight, I may be alone in that. Her story got lost in the celebrations. With couples beaming through their tears, mayors toasting champagne, churches hanging out banners, and people dancing in the streets, Laura’s tale of woe got lost. And martyr’s aren’t much use if no hears about them.
So another approach had to be crafted. What they need is a martyr whose story can drag on a while, someone who gets enough attention that their lost cause has a name attached.
So the Alliance Defense Fund decided that there was an extra-special exemption in state law that allows government employees to not do anything they don’t want to do, provided that they could put it in religious terms. By their reasoning, if a bureaucrat felt that they couldn’t “participate in the licensing procedure” unless the spouses-to-be passed their personal religious test, then the city was obligated to make special accommodations.
The law said nothing of the kind, of course, but going to court would surely get some attention. Someone would feel badly for the poor civic servant. So they cobbled together a memorandum and set out to find a sympathetic character.
If they could.
But that isn’t as easy as it might seem. The funny thing about town clerks is that they get into that job because they like marriage, they enjoy seeing people in love, they believe commitment makes society better. And, based on what I’ve seen over the years, even in conservative communities the marriage clerks tend to support marriage equality. And in New York, rather than boycott, they opened on the weekend, some even opening at midnight.
But now their efforts have paid off. The town clerk in Ledyard in Cayuga County decided to let ADF crucify her for the cause. (Auburnpub.com)
Ledyard Town Clerk Rose Marie Belforti submitted a letter to the Ledyard Town Board saying that her religious beliefs prevented her from signing marriage licenses for same-sex couples and the board discussed Belforti’s letter at Monday’s meeting, according to John Binns, a member of the town board.
When reached for comment Thursday, Belforti said “that’s not your business” before hanging up the phone.
Okay, well she may not be the most sympathetic character, perhaps, but you use what you’ve got.
Now if the town council is smart they’ll just say, “let’s deal with that when it comes up”. With a population of less than 2,000 residents, it might be a long long time before Rose Marie’s religious liberties are put to the test.
But, whatever they do, I think it’s important to keep in mind exactly what Rose Marie’s role is in the licensing procedure. Rose Marie doesn’t conduct the marriage. She doesn’t bless the marriage. She doesn’t attend the marriage. She doesn’t offer approval of the marriage. She doesn’t validate the information on the marriage license. She doesn’t even confirm that the marriage took place.
Rose Marie looks at identification to prove that the spouses are old enough to marry and that they are who they are, she watches them sign the marriage license, she has them swear that the information on the form is true, and she signs the affidavit: “Subscribed and sworn to/affirmed before me”.
Rose Marie’s role is nothing but a notary. I’m not putting down the importance of a notary in recognizing which documents are legally valid, but they don’t exactly participate in the negotiation or agreement that they are notarizing. They don’t object to the terms of the agreement – they don’t pay attention to them.
And according to notarywise.com,
“The only circumstances in which the notary may refuse to serve you is if the Notary is uncertain of a signer’s identity, willingness, mental awareness, or has cause to suspect fraud. Notaries may not refuse service on the basis of race, religion, nationality, lifestyle, or because the person is not a client or customer.
So Rose Marie essentially wants to do the job of a notary, on the taxpayer’s dollar, but unlike other notaries she wants to get veto power over the documents she signs.
Yeah…. I’m not feeling much sympathy.
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Part 5: A Candid Explanation For "Change"
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