Town Clerk in Broome County Resigns Over Same-Sex Marriage Law


Laura Fotusky, the Republican town clerk in Barker, Broome County, submitted her resignation last night, saying she could not sign licenses for same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage becomes legal July 24. Her resignation is effective July 21.

“The Bible clearly teaches that God created marriage between male and female as a divine gift that preserves families and cultures. Since I love and follow Him, I cannot put my signature on something that is against God,” she wrote in her resignation letter, which was posted last night on the New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms’ website.

Fotusky is the first clerk to resign over the issue, but Jason McGuire, executive director of the anti-gay-marriage group New Yorkers For Constititutional Freedoms’ predicted, “This is just the tip of the iceberg.” He said the law should have exempted clerks who because of their religious beliefs do not want to recognize same-sex marriages.

“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,” Fotusky said in her resignation letter. “It has been a pleasure and privilege to serve the Town as Barker Town Clerk.”

Clerks have yet to receive the new marriage licenses that will go into effect July 24, but some clerks — including in Rochester, New York City, Ithaca and Binghamton — are planning to open on  Sunday, the 24th to issue the licenses.


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  1. Tedlick Badkey on

    Well, there are a whole lot of people that would love to have these positions. There is no great loss here.

    You work for the state, not your deity, and must abide by the laws of the state and federal government before your religion.

    You either sign the document per your job, or you leave. If you work for a research institution and then tell them that it’s against your religion to use mice and rats in experiments: you leave. This is no different.

    If you have a problem with that, resignation is in your best interest and the best interest for the state.

  2. I agree with the above commented 100%. Her loss, the county’s (and the country’s) gain. And might I add good riddance to a selfish woman whose personal interests come before the interests of those she supposedly “serves” as a “public servant.” I’m sure she will not be missed.

  3. Bobby McGuire on

    Well, I hope God is going to be paying your bills Ms. Fotusky since you can’t collect unemployment when you quit your job.

    Good riddance

  4. Too bad there weren’t more brave souls who resigned from positions in the Third Reich when they found out what was going on and that they were a part of it. Run her for Mayor.

  5. Seriously, Kudos? The Third Reich?

    Maybe members of the Third Reich should have resigned. But they were too busy killing gays, Jews, and other ‘undesirable’ minorities out of a self-righteous sense of moral superiority. Maybe you should spend a little more time seriously considering history before you decide it’s justifiable for government employees to resign in protest over the protection of minority rights.

    A Gay Jew
    Whose Grandmother Still Tells Stories of Her Brothers and Sisters Who Perished in the Holocaust

  6. I wonder if Ms. Fotusky ever bothered to ask people she was marrying if they had been divorced? The Bible is very clear that marrying after a divorce was adultery. Also, did she inquire whether they were atheists?

    Or is it just convenient to play martyr because you are a hypocrite seeking attention and a pity party?

  7. Well said, homer.

    However, before the name calling starts, let’s give Ms. Fotusky credit for stepping down when she realized she would be unable to fulfill her state-appointed duties.

    Too much vitriol has been spread over the past weeks and months from both sides. And while I am sure that folks like Ms. Fotusky will be held up by hate groups like NOM as a martyr for the cause, let’s not feed the flames.

  8. God doesn’t pay her. The taxpayers, including gay ones, do. If she wants to pay her bills with prayer, enjoy. She’ll be filed away with the losers who used the bible to refuse interracial marriage too.

  9. Apes have feelings, too. They should be made eligible for welfare and banana stamps and section 8 housing. (Stay-free mini pads.)

  10. ….don’t you just love these “selective christians”? I hear she freely granted lincenses to divorced persons whenever her god wasn’t looking!

  11. She is doing what a christian should do – put her God first. As for paying her bills – God will provide. Marriage is an institution created by God – not our goverment. Good for her for standing strong in her belief. Everyone has that right — at least they are supposed to in the United States. Unfortunately, christians get slammed all the time now. The original settlers came here for religious freedom . Leave the woman alone. She is exercising her right as a American and a christian. I bet if she were muslim she would get pats on the back!

  12. Good for her for standing up for a belief from an unaccountable, incommunicable, invisible being who threatens eternal torture if its will is not obeyed. That took a lot of courage and sound decision-making.

    The fact that she resigned shows that she does not understand that a state’s civil union is not a marriage in her religion. Where does it say in the state’s law that somebody’s church has to marry the couple? Get it right. You are confusing what you think is right with what the state should allow. Christians are getting slammed because they woke up and thought the Bible should become our laws and policies. For you and I to have a debate about what should be law, you can talk to me, but I would need to your god. I can’t talk to your god so there can be no debate about its laws. We are going to have to settle for talking to each other and get to the bottom of what “love thy neighbor” and “pass no judgement” really mean to your god.

  13. David Altermatt on

    I don’t think Nancy is wrong. I think everybody should stand by what they believe no matter how narrow minded or illinformed they are. I think Christians are “getting slamed all the time now” because they are very busy slamming anyone who doesn’t agree with their interpretation of the Bible.

    Unfortunately the origional text of scripture does not clearly condemn same sex relationships. Jesus actually healed the Centurion’s ‘love slave’ at the Centurion’s request and commended his faith. We know from historic accounts ‘Pice’ was a slave/lover, a common occurance in the Roman Military. If you research the origional text of each of the passages where the word ‘homosexual’ appears in a Bible today you will find this to be true. The work was not in any text untill 1948. Unfortunate for Laura Fotusky that this clearly explained and now she has given up a perfectly good job because of it.

  14. haven’t seen this sort of vicious sniping in quite some time – all directed at someone who gave up a JOB for a set of beliefs, whether you agree or not with her values. Way out of line and over the top, most of you. She’s not complaining or mea-culpa-ing, she took a stance. Where’s the balance?

    Moreover, what’s the next step — I want to marry a man and a woman?

  15. Broome county expat on

    Barker is not in Broome County, it’s in Niagara County. Broome county is along the border of PA and NY, where Binghamton is.

    I’m glad she quit, hateful people should remove themselves from government service. Maybe they can find a grown-up to take her place.

  16. Since when do opinions need balance and since when should anyone refrain from giving their opinion on an action whether they support it or disagree with it?

    On the next step… If someone is going to point to an invisible entity as their authority and guidance on how to judge other people and dictate their behavior, then there can be no discussion. If someone wants to sit down and discuss facts, studies, research, etc. speaking to the pros and cons of a particular decision, then a dialogue can be had.

  17. Your supposed oddball “facts, studies and research” on this issue are no more valuable to discussion than any number of “invisible entities.”

  18. Broome county expat: The Village of Barker is in Niagara County, Town of Barker is in Broome County

  19. Does this mean she loses all her state benefits too? Like retirement? How silly to be so stubborn, especially in this economy. Oh well. I guess it opens that position up to a normal person, and for that, we thank you.