“Then you’re going to have a long day,” Davis told him, and then retreated into her inner office.
From the back of the room, Davis’ supporters said: “Praise the Lord! … Stand your ground.”
Other activists shouted that Davis is a bigot and told her: “Do your job.”
The sheriff then moved everyone out to the courthouse lawn, where James Yates and Will Smith Jr., who were denied a license for a fifth time, left red-eyed and shaking.
“It’s just too hard right now,” Yates said, choking back tears and holding hands as they rushed to their car.
Davis was elected last November as a Democrat, succeeding her mother in the office she had held for 37 years, according to the Morehead News. Her staff includes her son.
Davis stopped issuing all marriage licenses after the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage across the nation in June. Two gay couples and two straight couples sued, arguing that she must fulfill her duties as an elected official despite her personal religious faith. A federal judge ordered her to issue the licenses, and an appeals court upheld that decision.
Her lawyers with the Liberty Counsel filed a last-ditch appeal to the Supreme Court on Friday, asking that they grant her “asylum for her conscience.”
Justice Elena Kagan, who oversees the 6th district, referred Davis’ request to the full court, which denied the stay without comment.
Amid Tuesday’s developments, two groups lined up on either side of the courthouse entrance to chant at each other.
“At the end of the day, we have to stand before God, which has higher authority than the Supreme Court,” said Randy Smith, leading the group supporting Davis.
Ermold and Moore, together for 17 years, cried and swayed as walked out to chants from the clerk’s supporters.
“I feel sad, I feel devastated,” Ermold said. “I feel like I’ve been humiliated on such a national level, I can’t even comprehend it.”