SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — When a new feature film, dubbed “Rooted Out,” premieres at Proctors next week, it won’t be the first time Dylan Toften and Thomas Hurd had their names in the spotlight. The same-sex couple was denied a marriage license in late July 2018, after a Town of Root clerk refused to process their application.
Then-Governor Andrew Cuomo was quick to step in, launching an investigation into so-called “bigotry” on the part of the clerk. The former Governor released a statement in early August 2018, saying that the state’s investigation would ensure this sort of incident would never happen again.
Just over a year later, in December 2019, the state Division of Human Rights (DHR) announced that it had reached a settlement agreement with the Town of Root. DHR determined that there was probable cause the town had violated state law, which mandates that no application for a marriage license be denied simply because the parties are of the same sex.
Under the terms of the settlement, the Town of Root agreed to pay a civil fine and penalty to New York State. The town also agreed to adopt new, non-discriminatory policies that ensured all individuals in the town had an equal opportunity to obtain a marriage license.
In another agreement, the town also paid a settlement of $25,000 to Toften and Hurd, and the embattled Town Clerk, Sherrie Eriksen, issued a public apology.
The drama of that moment, and the events that followed, can be re-lived in the new feature film. Filmmakers said “Rooted Out” follows the experience of Toften and Hurd being denied their marriage license, and documents the town’s attempts to erase the incident from public record.
The film will premiere Monday, October 3, at 6:30 p.m. in Proctors’ GE Theatre. The screening is free and walk-ins are welcome. Proctors is located at 432 State Street, in Schenectady.