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Couple denied marriage licence after county clerk refused them due to her religious beliefs

Thomas Hurd and Dylan Toften are planning to pursue their complaint

2018-08-03

A couple were denied a marriage licence by the county clerk whose religious beliefs played a role in the refusal.

Thomas Hurd and Dylan Toften, from New York, went to their local county courthouse hoping to leave with a marriage licence, however, they were turned away by clerk Laurel Eriksen.

Toften took to Facebook to reveal that the couple were told to make an appointment with a different clerk.

He wrote: “Town of Root clerk is a bigot!!!! Refused to do our marriage license.

“She said make an appointment to have her deputy do it... do your job Andrew Cuomo Governor Andrew Cuomo #wten #equality #NewYork #HumanRights”

But town attorney Robert Subik claimed it was due to a lack of an appointment and told the Daily Gazette that Eriksen “didn’t process the two men’s marriage licence application because they failed to make an appointment with her, as everyone is required by her office to do.”

Despite defending her, Subik did admit that her religious beliefs also played a major role in her refusal.

He added: “She has a religious objection and has referred the matter to her deputy clerk, who has no such objection and will issue the licence 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 licence.”

Luckily the couple got a licence in a different county but Toften says they plan to pursue a complaint.

He said: “She took an oath to hold New York’s laws. She can be let got for this at the state level and I plan on pursuing it to that.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo ordered the state Division of Human Rights to launch an investigation and said he couldn’t believe this happened “anywhere in this country”.

He said: “Personally I cannot believe that this could happen anywhere in this country, let alone in the state of New York.

“Marriage equality is the law of the land, and it has been in New York since we were the first big state to pass marriage equality in 2011.”