Thursday, July 14, 2011

Religious freedom on the job: NY Town Clerk resigns

From the News:
A town clerk in western New York has resigned to avoid being forced to sign marriage licenses for gay and lesbian couples, citing religious objections to same-sex marriage....

Much of the debate in New York focused on the scope of protections for those opposed to same-sex marriage. The new law exempts religious groups from performing same-sex marriages but does not extend those protections to individuals, including government employees...

Cuomo, who had made the legalization of same-sex marriage a top priority this year, told reporters on Tuesday that he agreed with Fotusky's decision to resign because government workers have a responsibility to enforce the law.

"When you enforce the laws of the state, you don't get to pick and choose the laws," Cuomo said.

Robin Fretwell Wilson, a professor at Washington and Lee Law School in Virginia, has lobbied lawmakers in New York and other states to exempt individuals, including government employees, from providing services to same-sex couples. In a 2010 paper, she argued that the religious beliefs of marriage officers should be accommodated as long as they pose no hardship to same-sex couples.

"Forcing a public employee with a religious objection to facilitate a same-sex marriage would be intolerant in the extreme when little is to be gained by such rigid demands," wrote Wilson, who was not available for comment on Tuesday.
So, by that logic, if I am a town clerk and I have a religious objection to Jews marrying non-Jews, I can refuse to sign the license. Or if I am a follower of a white supremacist religion, I can refuse to sign the license of a mixed race couple? Right? Or is it just religious objections to gay folks that should be protected?

1 comment:

JCF said...

"as long as they pose no hardship to same-sex couples"

Give me a break: as if having an Officer of the People give you a look (if not an explanation) of "you are too disgusting for me to sign my signature" isn't a hardship?

Laws change ALL THE TIME. And when they do, legal officers are expected to ENFORCE THE NEW LAWS, whether or not they agree w/ them. This is nothing new. Why is it that ONLY laws granting legal equality to LGBTs get such a "conscience" carve-out? With all due respect, Professor Wilson: go to hell! >:-(