A Question for the Godly

The New York Times recently reported on a town clerk in upstate New York who was refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, despite passage of the recent New York law recognizing such unions. She cited evangelical Christianity as a bar against performing her official duties.

“For me to participate in the same-sex marriage application process I don’t feel is right,” Rose Marie Belforti told The Times. “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.”

I’m impressed by Ms. Belforti’s godliness. But since she seems to have an intimate relationship with God, and seems to know what He/She wants with such precision, I’d love to ask her a couple of questions. For example, how does God feel about her issuing licenses to divorced folks? People who’ve previously been convicted of crimes God disapproves of?

But most of all, I’d like to know how God feels about her continuing to take a government paycheck while refusing to perform the duties she’s being paid for. Isn’t that like stealing?

Ms. Belforti is absolutely entitled to her religious beliefs; however, she is not entitled to work for the government. If she can’t do her job–for whatever reason–she should be replaced by someone who can.


  1. Likely enough, she signed an oath swearing to uphold the laws and constitution of the state of New York.

    I suppose that would be a place to start as it would make her a liar (something else God doesn’t seem to approve of).

  2. Well said, Kurt. If she did swear an oath to defend the constitution and laws of the state, this is simply a case of Dereliction of Duty.

    The religious liberty argument is not defensible.
    If she belonged to a sect that refused to recognize interracial marriages and refused to issue a license to a mixed race couple, she would have probably been almost immediately fired with little to no fanfare or media attention.

    As to issuing licenses to divorced folks or others whom her God disapproves of? She seems to be one of those small-town Gladys Kravitz types. She may not refuse to issue licenses to people she feels her God does not approve of but I’m sure that she does her best to make them very uncomfortable.

  3. I was introduced to your blog by Becky Vasko at IUPUI, and I just want to say BRAVO! You raise such excellent points in this and all of your other posts. I also had the opportunity to hear your introduction speech last night at the Historical Society, and loved what you had to say. Thanks for sharing your insights for everyone to read and learn from! 🙂

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