NY Town Clerk Compares Processing Marriage Licenses For Gay Couples To Stealing

September 28, 2011 1:16 pm ET — Jamison Foser

Remember Rose Marie Belforti, the town clerk in Ledyard, New York who is refusing to process marriage licenses for gay couples because she worries there's "another agenda" behind New York's marriage equality laws — interspecies marriage? Now she compares processing paperwork for gay couples to stealing:

Ms. Belforti, represented by a Christian legal advocacy group based in Arizona, the Alliance Defense Fund, is arguing that state law requires New York to accommodate her religious beliefs. [...]

"For me to participate in the same-sex marriage application process I don't feel is right," she said. "God doesn't want me to do this, so I can't do what God doesn't want me to do, just like I can't steal, or any of the other things that God doesn't want me to do."

If Belforti's comparison of issuing marriage licenses in accordance with New York state law to stealing and "any of the other things that God doesn't want" her to do — like, say, murder — seems a bit extreme, don't worry: She assures us she isn't anti-gay:

"This is about religious freedom," she said. "This is not about trashing gay people."

So, Belforti compares same-sex marriage to marriage between a man and an animal, and processing paperwork for same-sex couples to stealing — but it isn't about "trashing gay people." Clearly.

Belforti's refusal to do her job has drawn an opponent in this year's election:

Ed Easter, a married father who has never held elected office, announced his write-in candidacy to challenge Ledyard town clerk Rose Marie Belforti in New York. Easter made his announcement Tuesday in a letter to the editors of local newspapers, at least one of which has already opposed Belforti's stance. [...]

"I would never want anyone to do something that they truly believe is wrong, but Ledyard needs a Town Clerk that will do the job of a town clerk," wrote Easter in a copy of his letter provided to The Advocate. "All solutions brought forth by the Town Council fall short of either equality or expectation and impose an unjust burden of tax dollars on the people that she is bound to serve. It has been said that she serves the people not the council, and I agree it is the people's responsibility to elect someone else to do the job if she will not resign. I am willing to do the whole job." 

A native of Birmingham, Ala., the 40-year-old said he took inspiration from the 16th Street Baptist Church bombing, which last week marked its grim 48th anniversary. [...]

"It occurred to me that maybe if somebody had spoke out to the right people at the right time maybe that would not have happened," he said of the bombing that killed four African-American girls in 1963. "As Edmund Burke said, 'All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing.' I consider myself a Christian and from what I know, I like Matthew 7:1: 'Judge not lest you be judged.'"