ADF Offers Help to NY Clerks Seeking Religious Exemption Over SSM


We've been actively tracking the New York clerks who have announced their intention to resign over SSM. If you know a New York clerk responsible for issuing marriage licenses, please help us bring this to their attention:

According to a recently released Alliance Defense Fund memorandum New York Law requires employers to accommodate sincerely held religious beliefs under Executive Law § 296(10)(a). This section of the law requires employers to accommodate an employee’s religious observance or practice, “unless, after engaging in a bona fide effort, the employer demonstrates that it is unable to reasonably accommodate the employee’s or prospective employee’s sincerely held religious observance or practice…without undue hardship.”

Furthermore, a specific provision of New York’s Domestic Relations Law § 15(3) allows all of the clerk’s duties in issuing marriage licenses to be delegated to a deputy clerk or other municipal employee. It would seem reasonable to conclude that a locality could appoint a deputy clerk or another civil servant, that does not have an objection to same-sex “marriages”, to issue these licenses.

Municipal clerks should review the Alliance Defense Fund Memo and if they desire free legal counsel, contact the Alliance Defense Fund. -- New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms