Ledyard same sex marriage controversy: Candidates face off tonight

Rose Marie Belforti, Ledyard Town Clerk / File photo

The local official who's drawing national attention for her decision not to sign marriage licenses for same sex couples will defend her decision tonight.

Rose Marie Belforti is the Town Clerk in Ledyard, in Cayuga County. Last week, she told our Jim Kenyon she won't sign marriage licenses for same sex couples because she feels like it would be a sin.

Town clerks are required to sign the certificates after New York State legalized same sex marriage.

Many have called for Belforti to step down in light of her decision, saying she's discriminating against same sex couples and should do her job. Others say she shouldn't be forced to do something she doesn't feel comfortable with, and should be able to pass the duty along to someone else in the office.

Despite the controversy, Belforti is running for office again this year. She's being challenged by write-in candidate Ed Easter.

Tonight, the two will face off in an open discussion at Wells College in Aurora. It will take place from 7-8:15 p.m. In the Auditorium of Cleveland Hall. Each candidate will answer questions from a moderator as well as from audience members.

On its website, Wells College says, "Given the historical and cultural significance of the issues brought to the fore in this election, this dialogue between the candidates is an important learning opportunity for students as well as the local community. The discussion, which will be moderated by Provost and Dean of the College Cindy Speaker, will allow students, as well as community members, the opportunity to ask questions from the floor."

Do you plan to attend tonight's event? What will you ask the candidates? Do you support Belforti or think she should resign? Who will you vote for in the election? Leave your thoughts below.

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