MOREHEAD, Ky. (WHAS11) -- For the first time since the U.S. Supreme Court made same-sex marriage in all 50 states, a gay couple walked out of the Rowan County clerk's office with their license to get married.
William Smith Jr. and James Yates, a couple for nearly a decade, were the first to receive a marriage license Friday morning in Rowan County, ending a months-long standoff. It was their sixth time attempting to get the license.The landmark moment came less than a day after a federal judge ordered the county's clerk, Kim Davis, to be jailed and held in contempt of court for defying multiple court orders to issue the licenses.
Deputy clerk Brian Mason, who was one of five deputy clerks who agreed to issue the licenses to avoid the same fate as Davis, issued the license Friday morning, congratulating the couple and shaking their hands as he smiled. The couple embraced and cried.
A sixth deputy clerk, Davis' son, followed his mother's stance in continuing to deny licenses.
A second same-sex couple arrived at the clerk's office to apply for a marriage license. Timothy and Michael Long arrived Friday morning, about an hour after the first same-sex couple was issued a license by a deputy clerk.
Karen Roberts and April Miller were the third couple to receive a marriage license. Miller held her marriage license over her head and shrieked "We got it!" as Karen Roberts, her partner of 11 years, let out a joyous whoop. The couple was among those that sued county clerk Kim Davis over her refusal. Roberts says she doesn't want to be a hero, "just want to be a woman who got a marriage license today." The couple said they plan to get married soon.
When the couple got inside the office Friday, a man harassed them and said, "More sodomites getting married?" The couple did not respond, and a worker told the man to leave.
Kim Davis' signature usually appears on the marriage licenses, since she is the clerk, but since she is in jail her deputy clerks are handing out licenses with no signature.
The Rowan County attorney and lawyers for the gay couples who have sued to get marriage licenses said they are legal and valid despite the lack of a signature.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning was asked during Davis' contempt hearing Thursday about the licenses being valid if Davis refuses to authorize them. He said it was up to the gay couples to take that chance.