Jewish Journal

N.Y. clerk resigns rather than certify gay marriages

by Brad A. Greenberg

July 14, 2011 | 9:13 am

After the California Supreme Court ruled that guys could not be prevented from marrying and before the passage of Proposition 8 amended the state constitution to stop that, one county clerk found a way around performing gay marriages. That wasn’t going to work in New York, and so we get news from Reuters that a town clerk in Barker, N.Y., has resigned rather than be forced to say marriage certificates for gay couples.

Here’s why Laura Fotusky stepped down:

Fotusky was not immediately available for comment, but in her letter, dated July 11, she said she believes the Bible takes precedence over man-made laws.

“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.

“I would be compromising my moral conscience if I participated in the licensing procedure,” she wrote.

All that raises an interesting issue. It’s one that a friend and I have regularly disagreed on when we’ve talked about why I think gays should be allowed to marry.

Indeed, our laws should not prevent gays from marrying. But what happens when our laws force others to break what they believe our God’s laws? There is a simple constitutional answer, and then there is a much more complex one.

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