Gay Couples Receiving Marriage Licenses in Rowan County

Christine Rousselle
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Posted: Sep 04, 2015 11:45 AM
Gay Couples Receiving Marriage Licenses in Rowan County

Yesterday, Rowan County clerk Kim Davis was ordered to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses, one of the duties of her job. Today, deputy clerks filling in for her issued the county's first marriage licenses since the June 26 Supreme Court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage throughout the country. The first marriage license was issued to James Yates and William Smith Jr.

With Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in jail on civil contempt charges for defying a judge's order to resume issuing licenses, deputy clerk Brian Mason ended the office's two-month license ban by politely serving Yates and Smith on Friday, even congratulating them and shaking their hands afterward.

"Love won!" marriage equality protesters shouted outside the Rowan County courthouse as the men emerged. Across the sidewalk, a crowd of people who support Kim Davis stood mutely, save for one man screaming quotes from the Bible about Sodom and Gomorrah.

Yates and Smith said they were "overwhelmed" by the moment, and now they need to set a wedding date. Together since 2006, they are among the local couples who sued Davis for a marriage license after she repeatedly turned them away.

Davis was ordered on August 12 to resume issuing marriage licenses. When she refused, she was jailed for contempt.

Davis, a Democrat, was elected to the role of county clerk in 2014.