Same-sex couple involved in marriage license controversy speak out


ROOT, N.Y. (WRGB) - "It started as the happiest moment like everybody should have, and then that moment was just taken right away," said Dylan Toften.

Two years ago, Toften proposed to Thomas Hurd.

In less than two weeks, they will be married.

But their journey to wedded bliss recently took a turn, when the couple says they were denied a marriage license by the Root Town Clerk, Sherrie Eriksen.

In a now viral Facebook post, Toften calls Eriksen a bigot.

"She failed to do her job. She failed her oath to uphold New York State's constitution. Simple as that," Toften said.

The town attorney told our media partners at the Daily Gazette that Eriksen refused the license because Toften and Hurd did not have an appointment, and because she has a religious objection.

At Wednesday's town board meeting, that we were not allowed to record, Eriksen didn't comment on the the incident.

But about a dozen residents from Root and beyond spoke during public comment period, asking her to resign.

"I live a mile and a half down the road and I do not want to be associated with a bunch of racists and bigots. I don't want my town to get that reputation. There's a lot of good people here," said one resident.

"It's embarrassing. Really it is. Very backwards thinking. Religion has nothing to do in a government state position at all," added another resident.

CBS6's Emily DeFeciani tried speaking with Town Supervisor Gary Kamp, but he gave no response.

Toften and Hurd, however, say the response they got Wednesday from their community, the outpouring of support, means everything.

"I'm seeing the people around me right now and it shows just how strong our community really is and it just takes my breath away," said Toften.

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