Each week, Queerty picks one blowhard, hypocrite, airhead, sanctimonious prick or other enemy of all that is queer to be the Douche of the Week. Have a nominee for DOTW? E-mail it to us at email@example.com.
In Ledyard, New York, 57-year-old Rose Marie Belforti wears the Douche of the Week badge with pride. As the elected town clerk for Ledyard’s 1,900 residents, her duties include issuing marriage licenses. And now that New York passed the marriage bill, it is her job to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples as well. Except not according to her.
And when Deirdre DiBiaggio and Katie Carmichael were denied their marriage license, the rice really hit the fan.
With her Bible tucked firmly under her arm, Belforti proclaimed that freedom of religion protects her from needing to comply with the new law. She made this claim some weeks ago, but what earned her the DOTW crown this week (yes, there’s a crown that goes with the honor) is that she actually recounted her idiotic reasoning to the New York Times in an article that ran on Tuesday.
“New York law protects my right to hold both my job and my beliefs,” she told the Times. “God doesn’t want me to do this, so I can’t do what God doesn’t want me to do. Just like I can’t steal, or any of the other things that God doesn’t want me to do.”
It’s an interesting argument, but it has a big gaping hole in it: The right to religious freedom does not give a person liberty over the law. She couldn’t, for example, refuse to give a marriage license to a non-virgin, a divorcee or an interfaith couple. Governor Cuomo seems to agree: Earlier this summer he said that “when you enforce the laws of the state, you don’t get to pick and choose”.
The outcome of all this is still unclear: Our DOTW is currently asking for a part-time deputy clerk to process marriage licenses (requiring applicants to make an appointment) but she’s now mired in a potential lawsuit and faces a murky re-election campaign. Belforti’s not too concerned, though: “I’m totally at peace, because God comes first for me.”
All together now: What a douche!
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