First same-sex marriage license issued in Rowan County with Kim Davis behind bars

09/04/2015 10:20 AM

MOREHEAD — With Democratic Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses, one of her deputies issued the first license to a same-sex couple on Friday morning.

At 8:15 am, William Smith, Jr. and James Yates received the first license the Rowan County Clerk’s office has issued since late June when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled on the Obergefell v. Hodges case, mandating same-sex marriage legal in all 50 states and striking down bans against the practice in a dozen states.

Smith and Yates shook deputy clerk Brian Mason’s hand, and then embraced as Mason handed the men their marriage license.

“This is a little overwhelming — this is too much,” a visibly shaking Gates told reporters after exiting the clerk’s office amid cheers of “love has won” by supporters.

Ministers on the other side of the entrance shouted sermons about immorality.

It was the couples’ sixth, and now final attempt to obtain a marriage license in Rowan County.

Five of Davis’ six deputies Thursday said that they will obey U.S. District Judge David Bunning’s decision.

Only Davis’s son, Nathan Davis, said he would not issue marriage licenses.

Kim Davis was placed in U.S. marshals’ custody on Thursday for contempt, and Bunning gave her an opportunity to be freed later in the day so long as she would not interfere with the issuance of marriage licenses in Rowan County. She refused.

Rev. Randy Smith, the head of a Morehead evangelical congregation, told Pure Politics, “religious liberty has been trampled on.”

“This is the very first time in our nation that I can recall, and definitely in my lifetime, that religious liberty has been trampled upon,” Smith said. “I’m telling you, Christians need to assemble peacefully, but they need to assemble — they need to flood the courthouses.”

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis and Whitley County Clerk Kay Schwartz have also declined to issue marriage licenses after the Supreme Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage.

Video and additional reporting by Pure Politics reporter Don Weber

Nick Storm

Nick Storm is the Anchor and Managing Editor of Pure Politics available exclusively on Spectrum News. Pure Politics is the only nightly program dedicated to Kentucky politics. Nick covers all of the political heavyweights and his investigative work brings to light issues that might otherwise go unnoticed, like his coverage of the backlog of DNA rape kits waiting to be tested in Kentucky. Nick is also working on a feature length bio documentary Outlaw Poet: A documentary on Ron Whitehead. Pure Politics airs weeknight at 7 and 11:30 on Spectrum News. Follow Nick on Twitter @NStorm_Politics. Nick can be reached at 502-792-1107 or


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