Manhattan Law Firm Seeks Criminal Prosecution of Upstate Marriage Clerk


Thompson Reuters:

A Manhattan law firm [Proskauer Rose, LLP] is calling for the resignation of a town clerk in upstate New York who claims she can't grant same-sex marriage licenses because of her religious beliefs.

... The Proskauer letter cites a July 13 memorandum from the New York State Department of Health that says town and city clerks have a legal obligation to provide a marriage license to all eligible applicants. "It is a misdemeanor violation if the clerk refuses to do so for any reason," the memo states.

Proskauer's letter urges the Ledyard town board to direct Belforti to issue same-sex marriage licenses or order her to resign.

"In the event such decisive action is not taken, we will be forced to take further legal action on behalf of Mmes. Carmichael and DiBiaggio in order (to) fully protect and enforce their rights under New York law," the letter says.

On Tuesday, People For the American Way Foundation, which serves as co-counsel to the women, circulated an online petition calling for Ledyard to require Belforti to issue same-sex marriage licenses or step down.