Adam Polaski

NY Town Clerk Says She Won't Sign Marriage Licenses

Filed By Adam Polaski | June 30, 2011 9:00 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Marriage Equality
Tags: Barbara MacEwen, marriage equality, marriage license, Politico, same-sex marriage, Syracuse

MarriageLicense.jpgThe religious exemptions in the New York marriage equality law only apply to religious organizations that do not wish to perform marriages on same-sex couples. Good thing that the exemptions stop there - otherwise people like Barbara MacEwen, the town clerk in Volney, about 30 miles from Syracuse, NY, would have their way, unchallenged.

The 75-year-old MacEwen is responsible for signing marriage licenses in her town, but she has said, according to Politico, that she's very opposed to the idea of signing a marriage license for a same-sex couple. She told Politico:

If there's any possible way to not do it legally, then yes, I would not want to put my name on any of those certificates or papers. That's their life, they can do it, but I don't feel I should be forced into something that's against my morals and my God.

MacEwen will be running for town clerk for a fifth four-year term this fall.

Maybe, you know, she won't have any issues with the new marriage equality law - after all, she doesn't expect many same-sex couples to file marriage licenses in Volney.

I don't know of anybody like that in my town. I'm sure that there might be, but I haven't heard about anybody.

According to The Syracuse Post-Standard, thousands of people attended this year's Pride parade in Syracuse. And I'm willing to bet that at least a few of them made the 30-minute trek from Volney.

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She has a duty and an obligation as the town clerk to perform her official and assigned duties w/o consideration of her personal beliefs. If she is unable or unwilling to do so then she has an obligation to resign.

Exactly! ... A good lawsuit with a competent legal team behind it ought to make short work of this problem.

Also, I would expect there is some way she can swear in one of her staffers to sign on the county's behalf, if her problem is simply she doesn't want her own name validating such a license. After all, county clerks are human, too, and do sometimes need to go into the hospital for extended stays, and the work of the county has have a way to go on regardless.