Fifty-seven-year-old Rose Marie Belforti has been the town clerk in the small rural town of Ledyard, New York for ten years.
When the state of New York legalized homosexual “marriage” this past summer, Belforti decided that she could not reconcile signing same-sex marriage licenses with her Christian faith. Instead, she decided to delegate the task to a deputy, who would issue such licenses by appointment.
Now, a lesbian couple is threatening to sue Belforti for discrimination.
“To have her basically telling us to get in the back of the line is just not acceptable,” said Katie Carmichael, who owns a farm in nearby Springport with her partner, Deirdre DiBaggio.
Deborah Liu, the general counsel for the People for the American Way Foundation, which is representing Carmichael and DiBaggio, claimed: “We totally respect everyone’s right to have their own personal beliefs,” but added that Belfarti cannot “relieve herself from doing a major part of her duties.”
Belforti plans to fight for her right to retain her position without violating her conscience. She has obtained representation with the Alliance Defense Fund.
“This is about religious freedom,” she told the Times, citing the first chapter of Romans. “This is not about trashing gay people.”
In addition to a possible lawsuit, she now faces a challenger in the next election. Ledyard resident Ed Easter says he wants to give the town a chance to vote Belfarti out of office because of her actions.
Belforti is not the first clerk to face the loss of her job in the aftermath of New York’s new same-sex “marriage” law.
Laura Fotusky of Barker, and Rosemary Centi of Guilderland both resigned in July when the law went into effect. A third woman, Barbara MacEwen, announced in June that she would not sign licenses for same-sex couples in upstate Volney, where she serves as clerk. MacEwen said that she has written to her senator for help.