Box Turtle Bulletin

Box Turtle BulletinNews, analysis and fact-checking of anti-gay rhetoric
“Now you must raise your children up in a world where that union of man and box turtle is on the same legal footing as man and wife…”
This article can be found at:
Latest Posts

The militant homosexual savage attack on the religious freedom of little old lady affidavit signers

Timothy Kincaid

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.

Laura Fotusky

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.

Rose Marie Belforti (left)

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.

Comments

POST COMMENT | COMMENT RSS 2.0

PhilDC
August 12th, 2011 | LINK

I think I’ve come up with the perfect retort:

“So can a Muslim bus driver insist that men and women sit separately on his bus? This is God’s law as he understands it after all.”

It forces them to reconcile their belief that religion is “disobey the law at will” card with their terror of “creeping shariah law”.

What say you?

Paul
August 12th, 2011 | LINK

@PhilDC
That is the most excellent retort I’ve ever happened upon.
I’m always speechless when people bring up the religious law BS, but now I have a leg to stand on!

Hue-Man
August 12th, 2011 | LINK

I’m so confused by the caption under the second picture. When you say “left” is that the reader’s left or their left? I also don’t understand why you didn’t provide the second name – a family member that didn’t want to be identified, i.e. guilt by assocation?

Erin
August 12th, 2011 | LINK

Can we stop writing in clauses that clergy won’t have to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies in marriage equality laws? This implies that they didn’t already have that protection before. The US Constitution already protects them from legal repercussions such as fines, arrests, or lawsuits for any stipulations they want to put into a rite, ceremony, mass, service, etc that they perform regarding marriages, baptisms, communions, funerals, etc. The fact is no member of any clergy in any religious institution is forced by law to perform a rite that goes against his/her doctrine. That is such a simple fact that should have been well-spelled out in high school Civics class, yet so many people who are ignorant to the fricking 1st Amemdment express the fear that their pastor will be sued if he turns down the local gay couple, and then sly anti-gay politicians pretend to be ignorant to the law as well and reinforce that fear. And as if that wasn’t irritating enough, journalists who discuss this matter on tv approach it as if it were an open issue, then pro-marriage equality folks such Evan Wolfson, fail to point it out, letting the Tony Perkins of the world slip by with their ridiculous and purposefully dishonest “concern” about religious freedom. It is infuriating when I see it on tv.

PJB863
August 13th, 2011 | LINK

I don’t know how it works in NY, but in some states (I know for sure in Florida), a notary (any notary) CAN marry people. He or she just signs the license after the couple signs it, and then takes it to the county courthouse to have it recorded and filed. I know two couple who were married in this manner and one of them was my father and his second wife.

Morel
August 13th, 2011 | LINK

Thank you, I thoroughly enjoyed this!

chiMaxx
August 13th, 2011 | LINK

Even though it does need one more pass by the copyeditors desk.

Norm
August 13th, 2011 | LINK

Who signed Arnold Schwarzenegger’s marriage license? He’s hetrosexual and represents the hetrosexual lifestyle by doing things hetrosexuals do. He’s a cheater, a womanizer. He had sex with the maid right in the home. So many hetrosexuals do this and much worse and these holier than thou phoneys won’t sign a marriage certificate because it’s between gays? Religion is a form of mental illness and they have it bad.

MR Bill
August 13th, 2011 | LINK

Then they found their victims, the town clerks who are forced to put their signature – their very own personal signature – on homosexual “marriage” licenses.

The part of this story that has always been deeply weird to me is, when you examine the job of a Town Clerk, and what they actually do, this line of argument gets deeply silly. What these public servants are being asked to do is: fill out forms, get money and signatures, and file authenticate some documents. As you say, they aren’t obliged to perform any religious function.
This could be a nice little civic ritual, or a cold transaction: the sort of simple professionalism we ought to require of a worker would still allow plenty of scope for the clerk to have their opinions. Just don’t allow that opinion them for an excuse for discrimination, and not serving the whole public.

Marlene
August 13th, 2011 | LINK

Y’see, it’s like this… for all the hue and cry the religious reicht spews about us wanting and demanding “special rights”, in fact it’s religious perverts like Laura Fotusky who’re the ones *demanding* just that!

*They’re* the ones demanding we follow their version of Sharia law, not to mention they want the special right to refuse to follow the Constitution! Butthen many from the religious reicht want to get rid of the damn thing in favor of their perverted interpretation of a Bronze Age book.

Priya Lynn
August 13th, 2011 | LINK

Erin said “Can we stop writing in clauses that clergy won’t have to perform same-sex marriage ceremonies in marriage equality laws? This implies that they didn’t already have that protection before.”

I strongly agree.

Marlene said “Y’see, it’s like this… for all the hue and cry the religious reicht spews about us wanting and demanding “special rights”, in fact it’s religious perverts like Laura Fotusky who’re the ones *demanding* just that!”.

I strongly agree.

CPT_Doom
August 13th, 2011 | LINK

The really ironic part is that these clerks would be the first to go running to a lawyer if any government official even hesitated to provide them services because that official disagreed with their religious lifestyle choices.

cedlitz
August 13th, 2011 | LINK

So why not pick this town to get married in? Force her hand and the town’s. If she won’t sign the license ask the town council if they need to be sued.

Keppler
August 13th, 2011 | LINK

Nicely summarized. I’m not feeling much sympathy either.

MattNYC
August 14th, 2011 | LINK

These people are CLERKS not judges. I’ve said before that they have no duty or right to interpret laws. They follow the rules, they stamp/sign the papers, and they say, “Have a Nice Day.”

They can go home and take a shower or confess to their clergy member if something they did was “icky” for them.

Believe me, if I were a clerk and Maggie came to ask for a parade permit, I would issue it, say “have a nice day” (and under my breath probably, ” I hope it rains frogs”), go home and scrub with a loofa, pumice soap, and bleach.

MattNYC
August 14th, 2011 | LINK

@PJB863

I believe in NY State, only Clerks can sign Marriage Licenses and other such documents–you don’t walk away with a blank form to take someplace else. Otherwise, the court cases would have been instigated 30 years ago.

Blair Martin
August 14th, 2011 | LINK

I might have missed it in all the flurry of information, but, has anyone in NY confronted people like Fotusky and Belforti with this – Romans 13:1-8. If they like to quote scripture to defend their sad ideas, then let’s see how they get out of this!
http://bible.oremus.org/?ql=180364716

Joe
August 15th, 2011 | LINK

Re: Rose Marie Belforti
boycott—> http://www.kefircheese.com/Index1.html

F Young
August 27th, 2011 | LINK

@Hue-Man
“I’m so confused by the caption under the second picture. When you say “left” is that the reader’s left or their left? I also don’t understand why you didn’t provide the second name – a family member that didn’t want to be identified, i.e. guilt by assocation?”

+1

Leave A Comment

All comments reflect the opinions of commenters only. They are not necessarily those of anyone associated with Box Turtle Bulletin. Comments are subject to our Comments Policy.

(Required)
(Required, never shared)

PLEASE NOTE: All comments are subject to our Comments Policy.