Tuesday, September 02, 2014

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Rochester

Marriage License Signature Means Discrimination for Ministers

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Rochester: Marriage License Signature Means Discrimination for Ministers
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A three year effort on the parts of three ministers in Rochester might just see their message become law.

Ministers at the First Unitarian Church of Rochester stopped signing marriage licenses because they believed it to be discriminatory against gay couples.

New York senators are expected to vote on same sex marriage in the coming weeks. The ministers at the First Unitarian Church say it's what they haven't written in law that's made them stop signing marriage licenses for straight couples.

Reverend Jennifer Crow made the stance three years ago, and she hopes it will be for all the right reasons after lawmakers vote this year.

"Our stand, our act of conscience has been one part of the momentum moving towards this marriage equality bill," Crow said.

Crow along with ministers Kaaren Anderson and Scott Tayler decided if they couldn't sign a marriage license for a same sex couple, then they wouldn't do it for a heterosexual couple either.

"When it came time to sign licenses for people, we would get this sick feeling in our gut," Crow said.

Crow says she followed suit after the Unitarian Universalist Association President, William Sinkford, stopped signing licenses more than five years ago.

"For us, it's an act of conscience. The three ministers, we're making a stand based on our own conscience that says this is wrong," Crow said.

Folks can still ask the ministers to perform marriages. Couples can also have ceremonies at the church, they just won't get a legal document from Crow, Anderson or Tayler.

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