Gay minister and partner face judge on trespassing charges

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by Johnny Archer

WHAS11.com

Posted on April 11, 2013 at 2:05 PM

Updated Thursday, Apr 11 at 5:23 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WHAS11) -- Reverend Maurice 'Bojangles' Blanchard and his partner, Dominique James, were in court Thursday morning to receive a trial date for their case. They say this case is more than a fight for their innocence, but also a fight for their civil rights.

In January, they were both arrested for not leaving the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office after they were denied a marriage license.

“We believe strongly that we have a civil right to marriage equality and we are denied that. We felt spiritually obligated to resist all discrimination,” Blanchard said.

A Kentucky statute prohibits people of the same sex to legally marry in Kentucky.

Thursday, the County Attorney's Office did not file that motion as expected, which leaves room for the defense to plead their case.

“Both gentlemen are charged with criminal trespassing in the 3rd degree, with a maximum penalty of a $250 fine and we will be able to tell the jury why they were in the clerk’s office,” Ted Shouse said, who represents Blanchard.

“Our position is that they were exercising their civil rights,” Annie O’Connell said, who represents James. “We look forward to a Jefferson County jury listening to all the facts and we believe the jury will find them not guilty.”

An official for the County Attorney’s Office said they will not comment on the case since it is ongoing.

The trial date is set for August 5th.

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