BARKER, N.Y. – A town clerk in a rural upstate New York community has submitted her resignation, citing her religious opposition to gay marriage.
Laura Fotusky submitted a letter of resignation to the town board in Barker on Monday, saying her religious beliefs prevent her from signing a marriage certificate for a gay couple, as she’d be required to do as a municipal clerk. The letter was published Tuesday on the website of the Christian lobbying group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms.
The 56-year-old Republican has served since 2007 in Barker, a town with fewer than 3,000 residents, 10 miles north of Binghamton. She said she’ll step down on July 21, three days before New York’s law allowing same-sex marriage takes effect.
Volney Town Clerk Barbara MacEwen told local media outlets last month that she opposed gay marriage on religious grounds but would follow the law.
Jim Koury, secretary of the New York State Association of City and Village Clerks, said he hadn’t heard from any clerks who would refuse to issue same-sex marriage licenses and said he was surprised and dismayed to hear of Fotusky’s decision.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo said elected officials must abide by the rules of the state.
“The law is the law,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said this week. “When you enforce the laws of the state, you don’t get to pick and choose.”
New York became the sixth and largest state to legalize gay marriage on June 24. Cuomo signed the legislation before midnight, setting a 30-day clock before the law takes effect.
Municipal clerks in several cities and towns around New York, including New York City, Niagara Falls, Syracuse and Binghamton, are holding special office hours on Sunday, July 24, to accommodate gay couples who want to get marriage licenses on the first day possible.