You may have heard or read about Ruth Sheldon, the town clerk of Granby, New York who resigned rather than issue marriage licenses to gay couples now that New York has expanded the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. If you haven't heard about Ms. Sheldon, click here for the story. You can also read about Laura Fotusky, the town clerk of Barker, New York, who also resigned for the same reason, by clicking here.
I pity Ms. Sheldon and Ms. Fotusky for blinding themselves to the realities of life, one of which is that gay people are normal and entitled to the same life, liberty and pursuit of happiness as anyone else. Of course, they're entitled to their beliefs. But it is sad that they see faith as something that should limit the rights and happiness of others. It seems to me that faith is primarily a way to find meaning in a difficult and often unfair world, as well as a way to find spiritual fulfillment. Still, it's their choice as individuals to rely on selective reading of the Bible like so many other people who claim to be Christian (but who, sadly, have too little to show for it).
People reacting this way to a change in the law to expand civil rights is troubling. But I have to put this in perspective.
In the summer of 1963, the sitting governor of Alabama, George Wallace, personally blocked the doors of the auditorium at the University of Alabama in the hope of preventing four black students from enrolling, in arrogant violation of the law. He stood aside when confronted by U.S. Marshalls, the Alabama National Guard and the Deputy Attorney General of the United States. Thank all that is good in this world that we live in a country, though very imperfect, that is governed by the rule of law (even though the law is painful slow sometimes).
I think it's wonderful that the highest ranking public officials (so far anyway) to put up a formal fuss over issuing marriage licenses to gay couples in New York are the clerks of two towns with populations of, respectively, just over 7,000 and just under 600. And no law enforcement officials had to step in. Ms. Sheldon and Ms. Fotusky merely resigned.
I hope that the National Organization for Marriage, Focus on the Family and the other self-loathing bigots shout Ms. Sheldon's and Ms. Fotusky's resignations from every rooftop they can find. I hope they find every public official or private citizen who thinks as Ms. Sheldon and Ms. Fotusky do, or reacts as they do and tell every soul they can find how outraged they are. Let the out-of-tune trumpets blast.
Why? Because most people in this country are finally beginning to see how petty and inhumane these people really are. To me, the louder they shout, the sooner the majority will stop listening.