Three couples receive marriage licenses from Kim Davis’s office

Rowan County deputy clerk Brian Mason, left, hands James Yates, and his partner William Smith Jr., their marriage license at the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky., Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. After four attempts, Yates and Smith were finally issued their marriage license.

Rowan County deputy clerk Brian Mason, left, hands James Yates, and his partner William Smith Jr., their marriage license at the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky., Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. After four attempts, Yates and Smith were finally issued their marriage license. AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Rowan County deputy clerk Brian Mason, left, hands James Yates, and his partner William Smith Jr., their marriage license at the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky., Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. After four attempts, Yates and Smith were finally issued their marriage license. AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley

Rowan County deputy clerk Brian Mason, left, hands James Yates, and his partner William Smith Jr., their marriage license at the Rowan County Judicial Center in Morehead, Ky., Friday, Sept. 4, 2015. After four attempts, Yates and Smith were finally issued their marriage license.

MOREHEAD, Ky. (AP) — At least three gay couples received marriage licenses Friday in Rowan County, embracing and celebrating as the defiant clerk sat remained jailed because she refuses to issue the licenses or allow her deputies to hand them out.

William Smith Jr. and James Yates, a couple for nearly a decade, were the first to receive a marriage license in Rowan County. Deputy clerk Brian Mason issued the license, congratulating the couple and shaking their hands as he smiled. After they paid the license fee of $35.50, Yates rushed across the steps of the courthouse to hug his mom as both cried.

“This means at least for this area that civil rights are civil rights and they are not subject to belief,” said Yates, who had been denied a license five times previously.

A crowd of supporters cheered as the couple left, while a street preacher rained down words of condemnation. Yates and Smith said they are trying to choose between two wedding dates and plan a small ceremony at the home of Yates’ parents.

The licenses were issued only after five of Kim Davis’ deputy clerks agreed to hand them out, the lone holdout from the office being her son, Nathan Davis. Her office was dark Friday morning, with a sheriff’s deputy standing guard in front of it.

“I just want the licenses given out. I don’t want her in jail. No one wanted her in jail,” Yates said.

A second couple, Timothy and Michael Long, also were issued a license about an hour after Yates and Smith. When the couple got inside the office, a man harassed them and said, “More sodomites getting married?” The Longs did not respond, and a worker told the man to leave.

A third couple, April Miller and Karen Roberts, arrived around midday.

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