New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms’ Courage Fund, which was set up to provide legal assistance to town and city clerks who oppose same-sex marriage, released a few videos today with testimonials from some of them.
Laura Fotusky explains that she resigned as town clerk in Barker, Broome County, because the same-sex marriage law conflicts with her religious beliefs. The new law took effect in July.
“I had to make a decision between God and my job, basically, my convictions that are based on the word of God and the fact that I didn’t feel that I could possibly sign something that is so much against his heart,” she says in video, which runs for more than two minutes.
Fotusky says she believes the same-sex marriage law violates her religious freedoms, but she resigned because she and the town could have been sued, and she doesn’t think the town should have to pay for her religious convictions.
The former town clerk says she has love and compassion for everyone. “This is about standing for my convictions. It’s not about not liking anybody,” she says.
Other clerks affected by the law are Ruth Sheldon, the former Granby Town Clerk in Oswego County, and Rose Marie Belforti, town clerk in Ledyard, Cayuga County, according to New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.
The Alliance Defense Fund produced a legal memo regarding the religious freedoms of the rights of town clerks and other New Yorkers. The new law protects religious beliefs and the state is required to accommodate them unless they place an “undue hardship” on a municipality, the memo said.
“And because New York law explicitly allows a municipality to delegate a clerk’s duties concerning marriage licenses to a deputy clerk or any other municipal employee, a city or town should have no reason to deny a clerk’s request for an accommodation,” it said.
This is Fotusky’s video: