Press Release: New York Town Clerks Lose Jobs for Defending Marriage


CONTACT: Mary Beth Hutchins or Elizabeth Ray (703-683-5004)

Town clerks forced to choose between their jobs and their convictions

WASHINGTON –The Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance (MADA) is releasing three videos with town clerks in New York State who have faced discrimination for their belief in one man-one woman marriage.

Ruth Sheldon, Laura Fotusky and Rose Marie Belforti have all been town clerks in various New York towns for several years, with part of their duties including signing marriage license applications. With the New York legislature voting to enact same-sex marriage in the state, these women, who support traditional marriage, faced religious discrimination for their refusal to sign same-sex marriage licenses.

Sheldon and Fotusky have quit their jobs, both citing the threat of lawsuits against the town and their strong conviction about marriage as reasons why they could not continue in their roles. Belforti is currently striving to keep her job by finding a way to not be forced to sign same-sex marriage licenses. All three women are examples of why MADA was established: to create a supportive community for those who have been threatened for standing for marriage.

"These three public servants love their communities and the people in them, and they also happen to be women of faith," said Maggie Gallagher, board member of the National Organization for Marriage, the parent group of MADA. "It would be easy to accommodate these clerks--by letting another employee sign same-sex marriage licenses--instead gay marriage advocates are applauding the idea they should be forced to choose between their faith and their jobs. What good purpose is served by needlessly forcing Ruth, Laura and Rose Marie out of a job they love after serving their community well for years?"

"Decent, loving, law-abiding citizens should not lose their jobs because they believe marriage is the union of husband and wife."

Video interviews can be seen by visiting:

For more information on the new Marriage Anti-Defamation Alliance, go to

To schedule an interview with Maggie Gallagher, please contact Mary Beth Hutchins, [email protected], x.105 or Elizabeth Ray, [email protected], x.130 at 703-683-5004.