Press Release: New York Town Clerks Lose Jobs for Defending Marriage


CONTACT: Mary Beth Hutchins or Elizabeth Ray (703-683-5004)

Town clerks forced to choose between their jobs and their convictions

WASHINGTON –The Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance (MADA) is releasing three videos with town clerks in New York State who have faced discrimination for their belief in one man-one woman marriage.

Ruth Sheldon, Laura Fotusky and Rose Marie Belforti have all been town clerks in various New York towns for several years, with part of their duties including signing marriage license applications. With the New York legislature voting to enact same-sex marriage in the state, these women, who support traditional marriage, faced religious discrimination for their refusal to sign same-sex marriage licenses.

Sheldon and Fotusky have quit their jobs, both citing the threat of lawsuits against the town and their strong conviction about marriage as reasons why they could not continue in their roles. Belforti is currently striving to keep her job by finding a way to not be forced to sign same-sex marriage licenses. All three women are examples of why MADA was established: to create a supportive community for those who have been threatened for standing for marriage.

"These three public servants love their communities and the people in them, and they also happen to be women of faith," said Maggie Gallagher, board member of the National Organization for Marriage, the parent group of MADA. "It would be easy to accommodate these clerks--by letting another employee sign same-sex marriage licenses--instead gay marriage advocates are applauding the idea they should be forced to choose between their faith and their jobs. What good purpose is served by needlessly forcing Ruth, Laura and Rose Marie out of a job they love after serving their community well for years?"

"Decent, loving, law-abiding citizens should not lose their jobs because they believe marriage is the union of husband and wife."

Video interviews can be seen by visiting:

For more information on the new Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, go to

To schedule an interview with Maggie Gallagher, please contact Mary Beth Hutchins, [email protected], x.105 or Elizabeth Ray, [email protected], x.130 at 703-683-5004.



  1. Mike Tidmus
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    Shut up and do your job. If your fictional god gets in the way, find another line of work.

  2. EvolveAlready
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Anti-defamation? Are you also anti-getting-fired-for-not-doing-your-job?

    Ruth Sheldon, Laura Fotusky and Rose Marie Belforti - You're Fired!

  3. Mav
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    If you believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, you are entitled to your beliefs, but you are not entitled to use your beliefs in a secular capacity to lord them over others who do not share them.

    Render unto Caesar's what is Caesar's, and render unto God's what is God's.

  4. Sam Jones
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Speak for yourself, Mav.

  5. j. fox
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    They said pseudo marriage wouldn't affect anybody else. Extremists are evil and don't tell the truth.

  6. Randy E King
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 5:23 pm | Permalink

    We do not live in a Secular society. This nations founding documents came into existance long before the word 'secular' (1885.)

    Unless, of course, someone can show me where in history this nation under God was defeated by a secular army?

  7. asdfsaf
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 6:26 pm | Permalink

    Your lack of sympathy for these people shows how full of hate and hypocrisy the so-called gay "rights" movement really is. They have done nothing to deserve losing their jobs. If standing up for your beliefs is a crime, then everyone is a criminal.

  8. Louis E.
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

    It is a breach of secular duty to the public welfare to either enact or enforce a law allowing same-sex relationships to be treated if not of lesser worth than bona fide marriages.

  9. Daughter of Eve
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

    Freedom of religion is not freedom of worship.

  10. Faye
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 7:05 pm | Permalink

    Why is part of the Bible quoted, "Render unto Caesar's what is Caesar's, and render unto god what is god's."

    But these parts of the Bible are ignored:

    "G-d said, 'It is not good that man be alone'. . .and G-d built the rib that He had taken from the man, into a WOMAN, and He brought her to the man."

    "Male and Female, He created them. G-d blessed them, and He said to them, 'Be fruitful and multiply.'"

    "Therefore shall a man leave his father (not 2 fathers) and his mother (not 2 mothers), and he shall cleave unto his wife (not his husband)."

    "Like the practice of the land of Egypt in which you dwelled, do not do."

    "You shall not lie with a man as one lies with a woman; it is an abomination."

  11. Faye
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

    Let me guess:

    The parts of the Bible that gays like are NOT religious dogma.

    The parts of the Bible that gays don't like ARE religious dogma.

  12. Faye
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 9:29 pm | Permalink

    #1 I didn't know that G-d was fictional. A person can learn something new every day.

    So let's tear down the synagogues, churches, and mosques, all over the world, which really are a waste of space; because the people inside them pray to G-d, who is fictional.

    Let's stop printing Bibles. They're a waste of paper, because they contain the word of G-d, who is fictional.

    Let's take the words "under G-d," out of the Pledge of Allegiance, because G-d is fictional.

    Let's not put our hand on a Bible and end an oath with "so help me G-d," because G-d is fictional; especially in court when a witness swears to tell the truth, or when the next President of the United States takes the Oath of Office.

    Let's print money without the words, "In G-d we trust," because G-d is fictional.

    G-d really should not get in the way of the SSM agenda being promoted. What could He have been thinking? G-d help Him!

  13. M. Jones
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    The federal government needs to step in and intervene and enforce DOMA. Its on the books it is settled law. Just like the Feds are going after California liberal elites marijuana stores. Drug use is bad and states should not be allowed to violate them. However, the destruction of marriage is not bad, and DOMA should not be enforced?

  14. Faye
    Posted October 6, 2011 at 10:06 pm | Permalink

    If each state can disregard DOMA and can vote on the redefinition of marriage,

    Will the USA have 50 definitions of marriage?

  15. Randy
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 2:52 am | Permalink

    Where is the tolerance from the gay community that they preach. Oh, Thats right. They dont have any, But we are suppose to have tolerance for them. They are just a bunch of hypocrites.....

  16. Equal
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 3:03 am | Permalink

    Hrmm...I can't find any religions that say 'though shalt not let people you disapprove of get married.'

    What religion are these people who do not want to do their jobs?

    Is it OK for someone to stone children to death for back-talking? It is in the bible.

  17. Claude
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 6:56 am | Permalink

    They quit rather than do their jobs, which is to apply the law. They constantly issue civil marriage licenses to people that do not fit their religion, but decided they wanted to discriminate against some people who could lawfully get civil marriage licenses.

    They can exercise their religion freely; they are just not allowed to have their religion exercise dominion over secular society.

  18. Claude
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    These Christians have no more religious right to refuse a marriage license to a same sex couple than they have to deny a marriage license to an islamic couple, a jewish couple, an inter-faith couple, a couple made of a murderer and a prostitute, or two adulterers, etc.

    Their jobs is to issue CIVIL marriage licenses in accordance with the law. There is no religious aspect to their job.

    If they want to lobby for their Church not to solemnize these marriages, I fully support them.

  19. Claude
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    What about this scenario? Because they are Catholic or Mthodists, they would deny members of the Saint-James United Church a marriage license to actually marry in the Church , since that Christian denomination solemnizes same sex marriages before God?

    Two Christian ideologies at odds? And the members of one Christian ideology could discriminate against members of another Christian ideology?

    These people's job is to issue CIVIL marriage licences to people who can legally obtain one.

    They preferred to quit rather than do their job.

  20. Claude
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Did these town clerks deny marriage licenses to divorced people? This goes against their Christian religion, and at least formally in one major denomination.

    Of course, they didn't. This isn't religious... it is political.

  21. Randy
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    This just shows how much tolerance the gay community really has. A big fat zero when it comes to tolerance and they got the nerve to preach it. I say practice what you preach before you preach it.

  22. EvolvedAlready
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Let's say you work at a jewelry store and a lesbian couple, eager to tie the knot, walks in. Since it is completely against your beliefs to sell them wedding rings, you tell them to come back later, when someone else is working.

    How long do you think you'd keep your job?

  23. Louis E.
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 4:12 pm | Permalink

    EvolvedAlready,if I owned the jewelry store,I'd fire any employee who wouldn't tell them we would refuse to sell them rings in the knowledge that they would use them as wedding rings.To in any way abet a same-sex couple's commitment to their relationship is inexcusable!

  24. EvolvedAlready
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Which is exactly why you're not a businessman, Louis.

  25. EvolvedAlready
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Oh, and by the way, you'd have a heck of a lawsuit on your hands for wrongful termination of an employee.

  26. Teri Simpkins
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

    How much intolerance should be tolerated, Randy?

  27. Louis E.
    Posted October 7, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Permalink

    Gee,does the chamber of commerce I've been president of and done business with think I'm not a businessman?(I've had homosexual customers,by the way...just never been complicit in their commitment to gratify their attractions).

  28. Claude
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

    These people did not lose their jobs, they quit for politically motivated reasons.

    They constantly signed marriage licenses for couples that marry against their religion (e.g. they issued marriage licenses to divorced people, fornicators, adulterers). All of a sudden, they develop a religious conscience in the exercise of their work? Get real... they just decided to become poster boys and girls for the profit of this national organization.

  29. Diana
    Posted October 9, 2011 at 11:06 pm | Permalink

    A good soul will hire these amazing, courageous women and the spiteful gays will find their agendas backfiring on them really soon. Two people of the same sex can only make a mockery of true marriage-something the gays are really good at doing.