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Cuomo Calls For Investigation After Upstate Town Clerk Refuses To Issue Men Marriage License

August 01, 2018 - 8:47 pm

ROOT, N.Y. (WCBS 880) -- Following last month's refusal by a town clerk in central New York to issue a marriage license to a same-sex couple, Gov. Andrew Cuomo is calling for an investigation.

Dylan Toften – who lives in the town of Root west of Schenectady – posted on Facebook this week that he and his partner had been denied a marriage license by town clerk Laurel “Sherrie” Eriksen.

Town Attorney Robert Subik told the Daily Gazette that the license was denied in part because the men did not follow established office procedure and make an appointment.

But Subik also said Eriksen does have a religious objection, and referred the matter to the deputy clerk who does not have an objection and would have issued the license when the men made an appointment, the Daily Gazette reported.

Cuomo on Tuesday slammed the handling of the situation.

“The denial of a marriage license to a same sex couple yesterday in Montgomery County is an unconscionable act of discrimination that goes against our values as New Yorkers. I am directing an investigation into this incident to ensure that it never happens again,” he wrote on Twitter.

He also said the clerk did not have a right to refuse to issue the license on religious grounds.

“This is an expansion of the Trumpian philosophy: they are against marriage equality and they are substituting their philosophy for the law,” Cuomo wrote on Twitter. “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.”

Toften and his partner went to neighboring Cobleskill and got their marriage license there.