Rowan County, Kentucky, Begins To Issue Marriage Licenses: More Drama Ensues

Update: Kim Davis’ attorney Mat Staver is now releasing a statement that the marriage licenses issued by Rowan County, Kentucky deputy clerks are invalid without Davis’ authority, reports Associated Press.

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After months of delay, Rowan County, Kentucky, has finally begun to issue marriage licenses this morning. The delay, which came in the wake of June’s historic Supreme Court same-sex marriage ruling, was caused by notorious Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis. Davis was jailed yesterday on contempt of court charges for refusing a judge’s order to begin issuing same-sex marriage licenses earlier this week, The Courier Dispatch reports.

Following Davis’ incarceration for contempt yesterday afternoon, five of her six Rowan County deputies stated they would begin issuing marriage licenses to all qualified applicants — straight or gay — immediately. The single dissenter on the staff was Davis’ own son.

William Smith and James Yates were the first couple to receive their marriage licenses in Rowan County, Kentucky. They were at the clerk’s office at 8:15 a.m., and on their sixth attempt to be granted their license. This time, they were successful.

“This means, at least for this area, that civil rights are civil rights. We’re very happy.”

The couple was met with cheers when they exited the Rowan County clerk’s office.

The second same-sex couple to make history in the rural Kentucky county were Tim and Michael Long. Unfortunately, their experience was less positive. While Kim Davis is currently incarcerated, her husband Joe Davis was inexplicably in attendance at the county clerk’s office. When the Long’s were issued their license, he muttered “disgrace” under his breath and left. Another protester inside the office called the pair “perverts.”

Despite being met with such hate and discrimination for exercising their civil rights, the couple remained upbeat and even excited about their experience as well as their future as legally married spouses. The two joined their names and lives in a commitment ceremony back in 2008, but there’s just something about making it official.

“I just never thought it would happen. We waited for years and years and years.”

While marriage licenses are finally being issued from the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk’s office, they are doing so without the authorization the clerk herself. Following yesterday’s incarceration, an offer was made to the embattled Kim Davis that may have ended her stint in jail and her martyrdom. She was asked to endow her deputies with her authority to issue marriage licenses. Through her lawyer, she refused the compromise, USA Today reported earlier this morning.

“My conscience will not allow it. God’s moral law convicts me and conflicts with my duties.”

Not surprisingly, the buzz surrounding this high-profile defiance of the Supreme Court’s newly enacted same-sex marriage ruling and the jailing of the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk for refusing to do her job has been massive. Social media has been taken by storm and flooded with opposing views.

Some of the 2016 presidential hopefuls have even gotten into the Rowan County, Kentucky, fray. Perhaps rightfully so. This case is likely to set the precedent for how same-sex marriage dissenters in the government are handled in the future. If they refuse to do the job they swore to do, that is. Make no mistake, while Kim Davis is in jail, she’s not in jail because she’s religious or Christian. She’s in jail for contempt of court. She blatantly defied a judge’s authority, refused to follow the law, and refused to do her job as Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk. She didn’t, however, refuse to collect her paycheck.

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It’s important to note that David Bunning, the judge in her case, is Catholic himself, the Washington Post reports. He’s also become a very unlikely advocate for LGBT rights. This is due to the fact that he’s well aware that the law of the land must be upheld. Universally and regardless of religious convictions.

“Personal opinions, including my own, are not relevant to today. The idea of natural law superseding this court’s authority would be a dangerous precedent indeed.”

When it’s all said and done, today was a very historic day. Not just for Rowan County, but for the entire nation. Today, same-sex couples in the jurisdiction were finally able to exercise their civil rights to marry. Even in the face of the utter defiance of the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk; a clerk who abused her position and ended up in jail, love wins.

[Image Courtesy: Ty Wright/Getty Images]