NOM BLOG

First Casualty of SSM: NY Clerk Refuses to Sign Same-Sex Marriage Licenses

 

Less than a week since New York passed a same-sex marriage law, the first person to get on the wrong side of the new law comes forward:

New York’s gay weddings victory lap has not extended to all parts of the Empire State, with a rural town clerk determined to not sign any same-sex marriage licenses.

Barbara MacEwen, the town clerk in upstate Volney who is responsible for signing marriage licenses in the town, said she’s morally opposed to same-sex weddings and does not intend to affix her signature to any marriage documents for gay or lesbian couples.

“If there’s any possible way to not do it, legally, then yes, I would not want to put my name on any of those certificates or papers,” MacEwen told POLITICO. “That’s their life, they can do it, but I don’t feel I should be forced into something that’s against my morals and my God.”

MacEwen said she’s written her state senator – Republican Patty Ritchie, who voted against legalizing gay weddings – to determine her legal options. --Politico

28 Comments

  1. MikeToo
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 6:13 pm | Permalink

    How is she a "casualty"? She should be fired. Religious freedom doesn't mean you're free to refuse to do your job and still keep it. It's means you're free to practice your religion. You're also free to find a job that doesn't require you to do things you find distasteful. If a person's belief system included opposition to the mixing of races, and that person was a town clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to mixed race couples, it would be absurd to hold that situation up as proof that constitutional bans against interracial marriage are required in order to accommodate that person's "religious freedoms". He or she would be expected to put their beliefs aside and do their job or resign. And before you say "but race and sexual orientation are different", save it. The law doesn't hold the religious beliefs of some above those of others. Who are you to say that your anti-gay beliefs are more valid or worthy of legal protection than someone else's views regarding race mixing? They're not. If Ms. MacEwan holds anti-gay views and expects the citizens (that pay her salary) to allow her shirk her responsibilities because of her personal bias, she is way out of line. If she's going to claim to be a victim, she's delusional. 

  2. Dan
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 6:15 pm | Permalink

    I feel for her.

    Here's what's coming, folks....

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/06/28/glenn-beck-and-family-harrassed-bryant-park_n_886208.html

    It's always amazing to me how those whose mantra for so many years was "tolerance!" extend none to others.

  3. CSmith
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 6:18 pm | Permalink

    Sorry, then that person shouldn't have become a clerk. It's not her job to decide whose papers -- legal documents -- are worthy of her signature. Religious exemptions are for religious organizations, not private individuals. What would people say if a clerk refused an interracial couple a license because his or her religion said it was wrong? And if it's about disagreeing with "behavior," not race, then consider that it would be illegal for a clerk to refuse to marry heterosexual celebrities who have only known each other for 10 days and are getting married while drunk in Vegas. Marriage is a civil right because we don't live in a freaking theocracy.

  4. Jpk020
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    Omg it's her job to sign the document it has nothing to do with her religious beliefs. I hope they fire her she wouldn't be allowed to deny signing a certificate for interfaith couples just because of her religious beliefs!

  5. Jane
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 7:38 pm | Permalink

    She needs to hire a good lawyer because the militant LGBT crowd will do everything possible to get her out of her job.

  6. david
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 7:55 pm | Permalink

    I think the state of the people to get a lawer and get one fast....The people got robbed, the is conclusive evidents that Cuomo may be gulty of illegal bribery ethics violation, the hold thing should be investigated.... Washington should get involved. THE WE HAVE ENOUGH SENTATORS IN THE HOUSE for a Constitution amendment? Anyone knows, why don't NOM see if we can stop all this SSM crap end at the Federal level in all the states...

  7. david
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 7:56 pm | Permalink

    Let just take the matter to the federal level..?

  8. david
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 7:58 pm | Permalink

    I think NY citizens should hire a good lawyer and take the state to Court

  9. Posted June 28, 2011 at 8:55 pm | Permalink

    Why not? The City of New York denies pistol permits. Why should not the town of Volney deny licenses to "marry" people of the same sex?

  10. Percy
    Posted June 28, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    And she is a "casualty" yet, how?

  11. CuriousGeorge
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 12:55 am | Permalink

    > will do everything possible to get her out of her job
    ?
    How about "do your job or get fired"? What part of "her job is to issue state marriage licenses to those the state deems legally able to marry" do you not understand?

    And, Michael, they are marriage licenses - not "marriage" licenses.

  12. afdasf
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    "How about "do your job or get fired"? What part of "her job is to issue state marriage licenses to those the state deems legally able to marry" do you not understand?"

    She was perfectly able to do just that without violating her own morals until less than a week ago. Now she must choose between her career and her faith, because Cuomo decided to cater to some ridiculous demands by the LGBT community rather than stand up for what's right.

  13. JumJum
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 9:10 am | Permalink

    She is an agent of the state whose job it is to fairly administer the laws. If she can't handle the job, then she's more than welcome to quit and let someone who's looking for employment do it.

  14. Peter
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 9:40 am | Permalink

    she should choice her faith and get on with it....retire.

  15. Garrett Nichols
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 11:23 am | Permalink

    Well, then she can choose her faith at church. In a government building, she has to follow the law.

  16. Barb
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 11:53 am | Permalink

    Gay "marriage" is an oxymoron. It takes courage to refuse to go along with a farce.

  17. Jpk020
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 12:31 pm | Permalink

    It doesn't take courage to hate unfortunately it doesn't take effort to be an idiot who uses quotation marks in the wrong places. marriage = love. Your view is "marriage" = social destruction you are all fools who cling to a misread/mistranslated verse in a very old book of fables

  18. Combatvet
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 12:47 pm | Permalink

    Civil marriage is a contract- it's not religion. What morals is this breaking? What did her god say about state contracts? What legal rights obligations and protections did her god ascribe to ny marriage contracts? Keep me free of your religion.

  19. Robin G
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 12:49 pm | Permalink

    The Conservative Party of New York should refuse to endorse any town Clerk that signs a gay marriage certificate. It's that simple. If every Republican/Conservative clerk refused, they couldn't fire them all.

  20. Richard Cortijo
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    I agree with her, if my faith and morals go against interracial marriages or interfaith marriages (as is written in many 'bibles') I/she should not sign them either.(right!) Where does it stop, having 'faith' does not liscense one to discriminate willy nilly..

  21. Jpk020
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Yes they could and I hope they do! get people in the job who will do their job professionally

  22. afdasf
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    "I agree with her, if my faith and morals go against interracial marriages or interfaith marriages (as is written in many 'bibles') I/she should not sign them either.(right!) Where does it stop, having 'faith' does not liscense one to discriminate willy nilly.."

    Here we go again with the false analogies.....

  23. alvin am
    Posted June 29, 2011 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    no false analogy. She is doing a secular job and if her religious beliefs prevent her from doing it, she needs to handle her business the right way.

  24. Sheryl Carver
    Posted June 30, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

    If a person has a secular job, they must fulfill the requirements of that job. If they choose not to, for WHATEVER reason, they should resign & find another job.

  25. Posted July 1, 2011 at 11:44 pm | Permalink

    Her religious beliefs can remain intact. If she is doing a job for whatever reason that requires she do something that is questionable according to her own, personal faith, she can leave her job and let someone else take over. She wins her "religious liberty".

    I would say that it is akin to a Muslim working in a turkey processing factory when said factory suddenly decides to upgrade to also process pork products. It so happens to be her job to follow the law.

  26. Posted July 4, 2011 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    She is an agent of the state whose job it is to fairly administer the laws

    Just like how the City of New York "fairly" issues pistol permits?

    Funny how only the politically connected and celebrities get pistol permits in New York City.

  27. ronald Hoffman
    Posted July 11, 2011 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

    Dear Sir/Madame: I have been a public school teacher for 32 years and it was clear that it was my obligation to work with children and their families. This woman is a civil servant and she also has a duty to fulfill. If she is unwilling to sign a document for same-sex marriage then she is not worthy of this position. She needs to be fired.

  28. TC Matthews
    Posted July 11, 2011 at 7:11 pm | Permalink

    Ronald, that's why so-called "religious protections" are so ineffective. They don't protect anyone. When Same-sex activists try to tell you nothing they do will affect you, try asking yourself, "Hm. How does changing the law affect me? How does outlawing religious freedom affect me?" This is only the start.