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Kentucky Clerk Goes to Jail, Gay Couple Gets Marriage License

  • VOA News

A gathering of same sex marriage supporters, left, and supporters of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, face off in front of the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Sept. 1, 2015.

A gathering of same sex marriage supporters, left, and supporters of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, right, face off in front of the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Sept. 1, 2015.

A gay couple in the southern state of Kentucky has received a marriage license a day after a county clerk was jailed for refusing to license same-sex couples

James Yates and William Smith Jr., entered the Rowan County clerk’s office Friday and received a marriage license from a deputy clerk, ending a months long standoff.

"This means at least for this area that civil rights are civil rights and they are not subject to belief,'' said Yates.

FILE - Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Sept. 1, 2015.

FILE - Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis listens to a customer following her office's refusal to issue marriage licenses at the Rowan County Courthouse in Morehead, Ky., Sept. 1, 2015.

The county clerk, Kim Davis had defied a U.S. Supreme Court order to sign the marriage permits, saying it violated her religious beliefs. A federal judge ordered her to jail for contempt of court and said she could be freed if she agrees to approve the licenses.

Speaking in court, Davis occasionally sobbed as she told the judge that, "God's moral law conflicts with my job duties. You can't be separated from something that's in your heart and in your soul."

Five of her six deputy clerks say they will carry out the judge's ruling that they must issue marriage licenses while Davis is in jail or face jail time themselves.

Only one deputy clerk, Davis' son, says he will refuse.

Hundreds of protesters on both sides of the issue gathered outside the courthouse Thursday to hear the judge's decision. Some mocked Davis, pointing out that she has been married four times. Others agreed with her belief that civil rights do not supercede morality.

The White House supports the court ruling. "There's a rule of law and the principle of the rule of law is central to our democracy," spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters.

Davis stopped issuing marriage licenses to all couples — gay and straight — after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same sex weddings in June.

A lower court ordered her to approve the licenses. An appeals court upheld the lower court ruling and on Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Davis' request to block that ruling.

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