Beliefs Culture Ethics Institutions Politics

With Ky. clerk in jail, gay couple receives marriage license

William Smith and James Yates received a marriage license Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, from Rowan County (Ky.) Deputy Clerk Brian Mason. Photo: Mike Wynn, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal
William Smith and James Yates received a marriage license Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, from Rowan County (Ky.) Deputy Clerk Brian Mason. Photo: Mike Wynn, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal

William Smith and James Yates received a marriage license Friday, Sept. 4, 2015, from Rowan County (Ky.) Deputy Clerk Brian Mason. Photo: Mike Wynn, The (Louisville, Ky.) Courier-Journal

MOREHEAD, Ky. — As a Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples sits in jail, a gay couple received a license from a deputy Rowan County clerk Friday.

William Smith and James Yates obtained a license from Deputy Clerk Brian Mason on Friday morning.

As they exited the courthouse, they were greeted by supporters chanting “love has won.”

The couple said they were elated and overwhelmed.

It was the sixth time that Yates and Smith had sought a license. Yates said they already have two dates in mind for a wedding at a family home.


READ: Kentucky clerk issued marriage license to a transgender couple


Jerry Calvert, a Morehead, Ky., resident said, “It’s a good day. It’s about everybody being OK, living together.”

Opponents were also outside the courthouse, waving signs that among other things called the Supreme Court decision that allows gay marriage “illegal.”

Marsha Moors-Charles, pastor of Bluegrass United Church of Christ, stood with gay-rights supporters and said she was willing to perform marriages if any couples asked. Across the walkway, other ministers shouted damnation.


READ: Kentucky clerk Kim Davis isn’t being held to a double-standard


While new civil rights laws are often slow to be accepted by some, she said, the “onslaught of bigotry and prejudice” that has followed the Supreme Court ruling has been “heartbreaking.”

Penny Stinnett, who was protesting the licenses outside, accused the deputy clerks of backing down and selling “out their salvation” even though Davis has been dedicated to her employees.

“I think it’s sad,” she said. “I think everybody in that office should have stood behind Kim Davis.”

Earlier, Davis’ husband said she remains in good spirits and is prepared to remain in jail for months.


READ: Donald Trump, evangelical scam artist (COMMENTARY)


Kimberly Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., clerk, is in the Carter County Detention Center in Kentucky being held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses. She halted all licensing because she has a religious objection to signing licenses for same-sex couples. Mug shot photo from the public records of the Carter County Detention Center.

Photo from Carter County Detention Center, Ky.

Kimberly Davis, the Rowan County, Ky., clerk, is in the Carter County Detention Center in Kentucky being held in contempt of court for refusing to issue marriage licenses. Photo from the public records of the Carter County Detention Center.

Joe Davis appeared outside the Rowan County Courthouse, calling U.S. District Judge David Bunning a bully for jailing his wife Thursday for contempt of court.

“She won’t resign I promise you,” he said. “Until something gives, she’ll be there.”

Joe Davis said he went out to eat with the five deputy clerks who agreed in court Thursday to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. He said he anticipates that they will keep their word and has no hard feelings against them despite his wife’s adamant refusal to authorize the forms.

At least two couples planned to return to the Rowan County Courthouse on Friday to request licenses from the five deputy clerks who say they will comply with the court to avoid jail.

Rowan County issued a little more than 200 marriage licenses last year, roughly two every three workdays.

Issuing licenses could pave the way for Kim Davis’ release from federal custody, though the judge seems cautious about letting her out too soon. If deputy clerks continue to refuse, the judge is expected to call them back to court.

A copy of a new Kentucky marriage certificate application for same-sex couples, with "First Party" and "Second Party." Rowan County Clerk's office issued a license Friday to a same-sex couple. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

A copy of a new Kentucky marriage certificate application for same-sex couples, with “First Party” and “Second Party.” Rowan County Clerk’s office issued a license Friday to a same-sex couple. REUTERS/Chris Helgren

Joe Davis said he doesn’t respect or fear Bunning, and he laid blame with Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear, who has declined to call a special session to rewrite state law on marriage certificates.

“You ain’t no governor because you have no backbone,” he said.

Davis said he spoke with his wife last night on the phone and the family plans to continue fighting. He said he plans to go to Frankfort next week to confront Beshear.

But Davis also said he doesn’t plan to stand in the way of any licenses Friday.

“We don’t want no violence at all,” he said. “And we don’t hate these people. That’s the farthest thing from our hearts.”

(Wynn and Kenning report for The Courier-Journal in Louisville, Ky.)

LM END WYNN

About the author

Mike Wynn

About the author

Chris Kenning

14 Comments

Click here to post a comment

  • Some Christians would insist that the ever erudite Joe Davis is an adulterer for having married a divorced woman. Selective observation is a wonderful thang.

    These two dummies have had more than their 15 minutes. Their petty grievance doesn’t justify a special session of the legislature. Who do they think they are?

    If Ms. Davis has any assets the civil suits will follow shortly. What’s a trailer home worth?

  • Yes, Joe Davis is about as deep a thinker as his wife. Of Governor Beshear, he said “You ain’t no governor because you have no backbone.” Uh, most people would say he does have a backbone because he refuses to be bullied by the likes of Joe Davis.

    Congratulations to the same-sex couples who will now be able to exercise their constitutional rights in Rowan County.

  • The clerk should have resigned or been fired if she couldn’t do her job as defined by her superiors.

    As to her beliefs, lets go back to Jesus. The Jews thought they shouldn’t have to pay tax to Caesar. Which led to “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s”. The law says, Give them licenses.

    To paraphrase Tony Campolo, ‘Same sex marriage is now the law of the land. The Christian Church might as well get used to it.’

  • Liberty Counsel never tells their clients that they can be on the hook for their opponent’s legal expenses as a penalty for wasting the court’s time on frivolous lawsuits.

    Alabama is already 500K+ deep for its attempt to claim SCOTUS has no power over them.

  • to quote bqrq, “predators prefer thin good looking boys”. He speaks from personal knowledge as one, as that is mighty specific information about them.

  • This fiasco could have been averted
    if the Constitution were properly taught:

    “Congress shall make no law establishing a religion…” – US Constitution

    It wasn’t written by Obama – but by the founders and signed by all the states – including Kentucky.

    Here is the future for a religion-soaked culture:

    “Execute them”- JESUS (Luke 19:27)
    “Hate him” – JESUS (Luke 14:26)
    “Avoid Them” – ROMANS (16:17)
    “Do not associate with the GUILTY..” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
    “Do not even to eat with such a one.” (1 Corinthians 5:11)
    “Do not receive him…or greet him..” (2 John 1:10)
    “go tell him his fault.”- JESUS (Matthew 18:15)
    “Have nothing to do with him!” (Titus 3:9-11)
    “LET HIM BE REMOVED” (1 Corinthians 1:13)
    “In the name of Jesus..keep away from him!” (2 Thess 3:6)
    “CURSE HIM” – (1 Cor. 16:22)
    “Deem them unworthy” -JESUS (Matt 10:13)

    It is nonsense.

  • Hey, as a white, relatively poor former mobile-home dwelling person of Southern origins, I resemble that. At least you didn’t go comparing the Davises to the Palins. Now that’d be a low blow. I’m not sure any of Kim’s exes are college basketball players or running buddies of her current amor.

    The people who are going to be suffering are the taxpayers. This little stunt is one reason the religious right is ruining the brand of Christ with their hateful and stupid antics.

  • Here we have a series of assertions not supported by evidence which is roughly translated as “I’m a sore loser.”

  • Those who call others “perverts” cannot be said to live in reality. Of course there is a whole industry to exploit these poor people called the religious right, which monetizes their wrath at modernity. It seems when used as such the term “pervert,” not entirely a perjorative in itself, refers primarily to anything other than missionary position het sex in the dark without birth control for the purpose of procreation only.

    Karl Marx first said “History repeats itself, first as tragedy, then as farce,” and we certainly see this is the linear progression from Anita Bryant to Sarah Palin to Kim Davis, in terms of female advocates of ignorance and illegetimate authority as spokeswomen for seekers of power and control.

  • Uh….the New Testament was entirely written in the Iron Age, as were the Dead Sea Scrolls and Masoretic Text which is where the modern OT comes from. I’m guessing you’re a slave to a misinformed Wikipedia page?

  • very nice post….
    I am agree with receiveing marriage license.Fortunately best bodies are not disciplinarian to Bronze Age texts of ambiguous provenance.thank you for sharing this interesting story.

ADVERTISEMENTs