Ban Ends As Kentucky Clerk’s Office Issues Gay Couple Marriage License

A gay couple was finally issued a marriage license a day after a Kentucky clerk was jailed for refusing to issue same-sex marriage licenses, thus ending the ban.

Kim Davis, the Rowan County clerk who was arrested Thursday for refusing to follow the orders of U.S. District Judge David Bunning, had stopped issuing marriage licenses right after the U.S. Supreme Court had ruled that same-sex marriages were legal back in June.

According to the Chron, Davis cited “God’s authority” and, according to Reuters, her Apostolic Christian beliefs for refusing to issue a marriage license.

James Yates and William Smith Jr. were the first couple to receive a marriage license since then. According to the Wall Street Journal, they entered the clerk’s office shortly before 8 a.m. They held hands as they navigated through the sea of cameras and reporters.

Yates and Smith had previously attempted to receive a marriage license five times. This would be their sixth.

According to the Chron, at about 8:10 a.m., Yates and Smith approached deputy clerk Brian Mason to fill out an application for the marriage license. Mason was one of five of Davis’ deputy clerks who agreed to issue marriage licenses Friday morning, obeying U.S. District Judge David Bunning’s ruling.

The couple paid $35.50 for the marriage license, and according to the Wall Street Journal, once the process had been completed, Mason congratulated the couple.

“Congratulations, guys. You have a good day.”

The tearful couple embraced and left the clerk’s office holding hands in triumph. They were greeted outside by an ocean of demonstrators, both supporting and opposing their marriage license victory.

Supporters screamed, “Love has won!” while others screamed “God almighty is the one in charge!”

Yates and Smith crossed the street to escape the crowd and join Yates’ mother, who was waiting for them.

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“I’m so happy for you,” she said as they embraced.

According to Reuters, Davis’ husband was among the protesters Friday morning. He held a sign that read, “Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah” and told reporters that Davis was chipper after her first night in jail. He reported that she said she would remain in jail for as long as she thought was necessary and that she was not planning on resigning from the Kentucky clerk’s office.

“We don’t hate these people. That’s the furthest thing from our hearts. We don’t hate nobody. We just want to have the same rights that they have.”

According to the law, Davis cannot be fired from the Kentucky clerk’s office as she is an elected official. Only impeachment by the state Legislature or being convicted of a crime would get her removed.

Yates and Smith’s marriage license was the 100th to have been issued by the clerk’s office this year, and the first marriage license to be granted since the Supreme Court ruling.

[Images via Ty Wright / Max Whittaker / Getty Images]