Gay Kentucky Couple Receives First Marriage License In Rowan County

MOREHEAD, KY - SEPTEMBER 2: Kim Davis, the Rowan County Clerk of Courts, closes the door to her office after denying a marriage license to Robbie Blankenship and Jesse Cruz at the County Clerks Office on September 2, 2015 in Morehead, Kentucky. Citing a sincere religious objection, Davis, an Apostolic Christian, has refused to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples in defiance of a Supreme Court ruling. (Photo by Ty Wright/Getty Images)
Source: Ty Wright/Getty Images News/Getty Images

The Rowan County Clerk's Office in Kentucky reopened Friday morning with one less clerk. Kim Davis, the new face of the anti-gay movement, remains in jail after refusing to issue marriage licenses to both gay and straight couples in the wake of the Supreme Court's ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. But her refusal is all for naught: A gay Kentucky couple received a marriage license Friday morning, becoming the first couple, of any sexual orientation, to obtain a legally issued marriage license in Rowan County since the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June.

William Smith and James Yates received the marriage license around 8:15 a.m. Friday morning from Deputy Clerk Brian Mason, The Courier-Journal reported. The couple was previously denied a marriage license from the clerk's office.

The couple's marriage license officially ends the courtroom saga between Davis, who identifies as an Apostolic Christian, and U.S. District Judge David Bunning, who ordered the Rowan County clerk to issue marriage licenses or else defy federal law. Davis repeatedly refused to do so, citing her deeply religious faith and opposition to same-sex marriage, and was ultimately sent to jail Thursday night.

But five of the six other deputy clerks left in Rowan County have decided to abide by federal law. As a result, the clerks made history Friday morning: Smith and Yates are the first gay couple in history to receive a marriage license in Rowan County, Ky.

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While Smith and Yates celebrated at the courthouse Friday morning, Davis remained defiant behind bars at the nearby jail. According to her husband, Joe Davis, the county clerk refuses to resign from her clerk position. Joe Davis told reporters outside the courthouse that his wife and his son, who's also a clerk at the courthouse, would not be swayed by federal law.

"[Judge] Bunning cannot bully me, my wife or my son," Joe Davis told reporters. "Bunning doesn't know how to pick on somebody that can handle him. The only thing he knows how to do is to pick up on the weak people."

Joe Davis added that he's defying the federal government — and he seemed pretty pleased by it. "I'd defy our government," Joe Davis said. "We have no government in the United States anymore, none whatsoever."

Kim Davis, of course, has been defying the U.S. government since late June, following the Supreme Court decision that legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states. Davis has been using her religion as the excuse to deny marriage licenses for the last two months, and reportedly wept in federal court on Thursday as she talked about her conscience. "God's moral law conflicts with my job duties," Davis told the courtroom. "You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and in your soul."

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