New York Town Clerk Denies Marriage License to Gay Miami Couple - NBC 6 South Florida

New York Town Clerk Denies Marriage License to Gay Miami Couple

A Miami couple who own a second home in New York are considering a lawsuit after a town clerk there refused to issue them a marriage license because they are gay

    processing...

    NEWSLETTERS

    Miami Gay Couple Denied Marriage Certificate

    (Published Thursday, Oct. 20, 2011)

    A Miami couple who own a second home in New York are considering a lawsuit after a town clerk there refused to issue them a marriage license.

    The clerk claimed it's because of her religious beliefs, but Katie Carmichael and Deirdre DiBiaggio call it discrimination.

    The pair have been together for 10 years, wearing rings though they aren't yet married. And when they tried to wed this August in Cayuga County, New York, where they summer, things didn't go as planned.

    "The town clerk told us we would have to make an appointment and come back another day because she was not going to issue us a license," Carmichael said.

    Ledyard Town Clerk Rose Marie Belforti stopped issuing marriage licenses altogether when gay marriage become legal in the state this summer.

    Instead, she told Carmichael and DiBiaggio, she refers all couples -- gay and straight -- to a deputy clerk.

    "I'm a Christian," Belforti said. "I have a relationship with Jesus Christ and I do not want to violate that relationship, so this is very personal for me."

    The couple had heard of Belforti's views and knew she was against gay marriage, but said they never thought she would refuse to issue them a marriage license.

    They even brought with them their best friend, an ordained minister and board member of People for the American Way, because he was going to marry them.

    The couple said as an elected official, Belforti has a job to do, whether she agrees with it or not.

    "I don't think it's any different than a bi-racial couple trying to get married or obtain a marriage license in the '60s in the south," DiBaggio said.

    "She cannot pick and choose which laws she is going to enforce," Carmichael added. "If she can do this, then what about a policeman who decides he's not going to enforce a law because of his religious beliefs, or a fireman who's not going to go inside a burning house?"

    The two are still not married, and are now considering suing the town clerk -- but not for any amount of money.

    Instead, they said any legal action would designed to make the clerk follow the law.