- New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo blamed the denial of a marriage license to a gay couple on “Trumpian philosophy.”
- Cuomo plans to launch an investigation into the incident so “it never happens again.”
- The same-sex couple got their license at another nearby town and plan on getting married Aug. 18.
New York Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said a clerk denying a marriage license to a gay couple was part of a “Trumpian philosophy,” even though it was for procedural and religious reasons.
The tweet came after Root, New York, Town Clerk Laurel “Sherrie” Eriksen did not grant a marriage license to Dylan Toften and his future husband, The Daily Gazette reported Tuesday.
“This is an expansion of the Trumpian philosophy: they are against marriage equality and they are substituting their philosophy for the law,” Cuomo tweeted Wednesday. “I don’t care if the clerk is opposed to marriage equality that’s her right but she can’t impose her will onto others in violation of the law.”
Eriksen did not grant the marriage license for two reasons: Toften and his partner did not follow proper procedures and personal religious convictions, according to town attorney Robert Subik.
“Sherrie didn’t process the two men’s marriage license application because they failed to make an appointment with her, as everyone is required by her office to do,” Subik said in an email to The Gazette. “She has a religious objection and has referred the matter to her deputy clerk, who has no such objection and will issue the license when they make an appointment. The clerks are both part-time and don’t man the office Monday through Friday. Of course, the two men are free to go to another jurisdiction to obtain their license.”
While a deputy clerk is allowed to grant the license, he was not present in the office, Toften said to The Gazette. The deputy clerk was reported to not have religious objections to same-sex marriages. (RELATED: Christian Baker Prevails At Supreme Court In Same-Sex Wedding Cake Dispute)
Toften and his partner, as a result, went to a another nearby town to secure their license.
“I’m getting married on the 18th [of August],” Toften said in a Facebook note, according to The Gazette. “I figured I would just hit up the closest town clerk’s office to get the papers. Wasn’t expecting there to be an issue.”
Toften took to Facebook to post about the issue Monday, which has 350 comments and 159 shares.
“Town of Root clerk is a bigot!!!! Refused to do our marriage license,” the post said. “She said make an appointment to have her deputy do it… do your job Andrew Cuomo.”
New York passed the Marriage Equality Act in 2011 that allowed same-sex couples to get married. The act also requires town and city clerks to grant licenses to “applicants who meet all marriage requirements for New York State,” according to New York’s Department of Health website.
Cuomo announced Wednesday that he planned on initiating an investigation into the issue.
“On behalf of all New Yorkers, I would like to congratulate Dylan Toften and his future husband on their marriage,” Cuomo said in a press release. “I invite them to come to Albany, and I would be happy to offer my services as an officiant at their wedding.”
The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to Eriksen and Subik, but did not receive a response in time for publication.
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