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New York clerk denies marriage license for a same-sex couple

A clerk in the city of Root, New York denied a same-sex couple a marriage license earlier this week.

Dylan Toften posted on Facebook that he and his partner, Thomas Hurd, were denied a marriage license by the town clerk, Laurel Eriksen.

If you guessed that Eriksen denied the couple a marriage license for religious reasons, you’d be correct. Because of course she did.

The governor of New York, Andrew Cuomo, was quick to condemn Eriksen’s actions on Twitter.

“The denial of a marriage license to a same sex couple yesterday in Montgomery County is an unconscionable act of discrimination that goes against our values as New Yorkers. I am directing an investigation into this incident to ensure that it never happens again.”

The Auburn Citizen reported that the deputy clerk in the couple’s town was willing to give the couple a marriage license, however they went to Cobleskill, New York to obtain it instead. Good for them.

My thoughts on this are pretty simple and rather straightforward.

Shut the fuck up and do your goddamn job.

I really thought this whole thing had been played out before in many different forms, most notably with Kim Davis. As you’ll recall, in 2015 Davis was the county clerk from Kentucky who denied a same-sex couple a marriage license for her religious beliefs, ultimately costing the taxpayers of Kentucky $224,703 in legal costs.

Then there was the pharmacist who denied a woman an abortion pill, while she was going through a miscarriage, for “religious reasons.”

And it’s not like same-sex marriage is something new for the state of New York. It was signed into law on June 24th, 2011. And in case there was any doubt, the Supreme Court double-downed and declared it legal nationwide in 2015.

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Marriage is a fundamental human right that any person, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, is entitled to.

When you accept employment with a government agency, your responsibility is to follow the law and serve the taxpayers. By accepting the position, you forfeit your own personal beliefs and biases in exchange for the laws and regulations necessary to execute your job responsibilities.

I know firsthand what it’s like to do this. I worked for the Department of Child Services (Child Protective Services) for over half a decade until the winter of 2017. There were many policies I didn’t agree with and things I didn’t want to do, but I had to follow the law and agency policy. That’s the responsibility you agree to assume when you choose to have a career in public service. If you can’t do that, then you have no business being a public servant.

This highlights the hypocrisy of the religious right. They loudly claim that their “religious freedoms” are being infringed while they actively infringe on the rights of others.

All this nonsense about “religious freedoms” stems from the Christian persecution complex. Any discussion or criticism of religious ideology is viewed as an attack by paranoid religious fanatics, and politicians know it. That’s why we’ve seen things like the “Religious Freedom Restoration Act” and other unconstitutional actions.

The fact is, nobody is stopping Christians from practicing their religion, just like nobody is stopping atheists from mocking religion. Nobody is stopping Catholics from pretending to magically transubstantiate a nasty cracker and fruit juice into flesh and blood of a guy who may or may not have existed a couple thousand years ago.

You have the right to believe whatever crazy nonsense you want, but your religious freedom ends when it infringes on the rights of others.

Written by Dan Broadbent

Science Enthusiast. Atheist. Lover of cats.

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