Wingnut televangelist Pat Robertson called Rose Marie Belforti a “prisoner of conscience,” (whatever that means). Even after she refused to sign marriage licenses for gay couples, the Cayuga County, NY clerk recently won reelection to her post.
Belforti, the elected notary of tiny Ledyard, NY, in the Finger Lakes region, made headlines in September because she balked at signing marriage licenses for gay couples. After the Empire State legalized same-sex marriage in June 2011, county clerks were required to sign the licenses of all couples, regardless of gender. But Belforti claimed the routine job requirement conflicted with her Christian beliefs, though she did instruct a deputy to sign the papers.
Belforti’s plan was criticized by some in the town, and a lesbian couple denied a license had filed a lawsuit, which is pending. Marriage equality groups and others called for Belforti’s resignation or her defeat in the November 2011 election. Her opponent, Ed Easter, a write-in candidate, said he ran because Belforti’s stance on the licenses was wrong. Voters chose Belforti, however; she received 305 votes to Easter’s 186.
“The people of Ledyard have spoken and rejected religious discrimination. For the last ten years, Rose Belforti has stood up for the people of Ledyard and tonight they stood up for her,” crowed Rev. Jason McGuire, director of the conservative group New Yorkers for Constitutional Freedoms and a member of the reelection committee.