BREAKING: Heated protests after Kentucky gay couple gets license

Rowan County deputy clerk Brian Mason, left, shakes hands with James Yates and his partner William Smith Jr. after issuing their their marriage license at the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky., Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. After four attempts, Yates and Smith were the first gay couple to receive their marriage license, hours after the county's defiant clerk was hauled to jail for refusing to license same-sex marriages.

Rowan County deputy clerk Brian Mason, left, shakes hands with James Yates and his partner William Smith Jr. after issuing their their marriage license at the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky., Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. After four attempts, Yates and Smith were the first gay couple to receive their marriage license, hours after the county's defiant clerk was hauled to jail for refusing to license same-sex marriages. AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Rowan County deputy clerk Brian Mason, left, shakes hands with James Yates and his partner William Smith Jr. after issuing their their marriage license at the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky., Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. After four attempts, Yates and Smith were the first gay couple to receive their marriage license, hours after the county's defiant clerk was hauled to jail for refusing to license same-sex marriages. AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Rowan County deputy clerk Brian Mason, left, shakes hands with James Yates and his partner William Smith Jr. after issuing their their marriage license at the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky., Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. After four attempts, Yates and Smith were the first gay couple to receive their marriage license, hours after the county’s defiant clerk was hauled to jail for refusing to license same-sex marriages.

A gay couple walked out of a Kentucky clerk’s office with a marriage license, hours after the county’s defiant clerk was hauled to jail for refusing to license same-sex marriages.

William Smith Jr. and James Yates, a couple for nearly a decade, were the first to receive a marriage license Friday morning in Rowan County, ending a months-long standoff.

Clerk Kim Davis has cited “God’s authority” and refused to issue marriage licenses since the Supreme Court effectively legalized gay marriage in June. She defied a series of court orders.

Deputy clerk Brian Mason issued the license Friday morning, congratulating the couple and shaking their hands as he smiled. The couple embraced and cried.

Dozen of protesters gathered outside the office: One group cheered on the gay couple who got the license, while the other group preached and supported the clerk on Friday. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis has refused to issue the licenses, citing her Christian religion and belief that gay marriage is immoral.

In a heated exchange, supporters of Davis yelled “I’m telling you the truth because I love you” while opponents yelled back that “Jesus loves everyone.”

Davis remained jailed after a federal judge held her in contempt for defying several court orders. Her husband says she doesn’t plan to resign and will not issue the licenses.

© 2015, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

This Story Filed Under

Comments