When Deirdre DiBiaggio and Katie Carmichael went to their town clerk in Upstate New York to receive a marriage license, the clerk turned them away and refused to process their marriage application, instead telling them to make an appointment with a deputy on another day. The couple, represented by People For the American Way Foundation, is now trying to make sure that the clerk does her job and complies with the state’s Marriage Equality Act.
The Family Research Council is now defending the clerk, who, the group writes in an email to members, faced a “surprise visit from a lesbian couple” – a strange choice of words since a major part of the clerk’s job is to process marriage applications. The right-wing organization wrongly insists that “the women weren’t denied a license” and falsely claims that “the two women got their license and were ‘married’”:
Rose Marie Belforti, a small town cheese maker in rural New York, is at the epicenter of the effort to banish Christians from living out their faith in public office. Belforti, a Bible-believing Christian, has been the elected town clerk for nearly a decade. After the New York legislature redefined marriage and ordered clerks to issue same-sex “marriage” licenses, Belforti had a surprise visit from a lesbian who wanted a marriage license. Rose did what she would do for anyone–she offered an appointment. Just not with her. The women weren’t denied a license, but Rose, in anticipation of a conflict with her faith, took the matter to the Ledyard Town Board in August. The board appointed several deputy clerks to sign and issue the licenses. The two women got their license and were “married,” but now they want to make sure that those who won’t participate and celebrate this ruse of a “marriage” are banished from public office.
This is hardly the case. DiBiaggio and Carmichael are still not married because Belforti continues to deny them a marriage license, insisting that they jump through hoops to obtain one from a part-time deputy. But for the Family Research Council, the facts never stand in the way of advocacy for anti-gay discrimination.
UPDATE: In Thursday’s email update, the FRC corrected its assertion that DiBiaggio and Carmichael were married.