People For the American Way Foundation and Proskauer Rose, LLP, a global law firm, sent a letter this weekend to the Ledyard Town Board, demanding that the town’s clerk fulfill her legal duty to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The letter refers to Ledyard Town Clerk Rose Marie Belforti, who had publicly stated that she will not sign marriage licenses for same-sex couples and refused to do so for Katie Carmichael and Deirdre DiBiaggio on August 30. With the Ledyard Town Board’s permission, Ms. Belforti decided to stop issuing marriage licenses altogether due to her opposition to the Marriage Equality Act, instead delegating the responsibility to a subordinate officer. Upon appearing before Ms. Belforti for a marriage license on August 30th, Ms. Carmichael and Ms. DiBiaggio were told by the town clerk herself that they could not obtain a license that day and instead would need to return by appointment another day to meet with a subordinate official who would fulfill their request. Faced with discrimination by an elected official who placed her personal prejudices above the law, Katie Carmichael and Deirdre DiBiaggio turned to People For the American Way Foundation for help in realizing their right to wed.You can read the letter that was sent to Ledyard Town Clerk Rose Marie Belforti and Ledyard Town Supervisor Mark Jordan here. Ms. Belforti is being told to do her job and process all marriage licenses or step down. Barring that, PFAW and Proskauer Rose, LLP, are threatening to take further legal action against the community of Ledyard. Meanwhile, the Alliance Defense Fund is all excited about New York's town clerks refusing to do their jobs and has promised to back them up if they don't want to do their jobs and process gay marriage licenses.
What a waste of time and resources. Town Clerks are not there to bless marriage licenses. They are there to process the paperwork. Why not just process these ladies' form and move on with life?