Kentucky same-sex couple speaks out against marriage license denial
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“[Gay marriage] has to be recognized here,” said James Yates. “We live here. It’s right here. It’s been ruled that it’s right here.”
Yates and his partner Will Smith Jr. were one of three same-sex couples denied a marriage license Tuesday morning by Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis. A video of couple David Moore and David Ermold went viral after Davis refused to give them a license, “under God’s authority.”
While the couple did not speak with Davis on Tuesday, they were greeted with protesters from both sides of the issue after leaving her office.
“Everyone was emotional,” said Yates. “There were people cheering that we didn’t get our [marriage] license when we came out.“
Yates and Smith have been together for nearly a decade. While they initially rejoiced after the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples have the right to marry nationwide, the couple has kept their “optimism in check” after facing obstacles.
“It is hard to celebrate when everybody else … can celebrate their lives together [and be] recognized as married, and we can’t do so in our own hometown,” said Smith.
The Supreme Court denied Davis’s emergency request Monday to deny same-sex couples marriage licenses. Since she now has no legal grounds to refuse licenses, she could face steep fines or jail time, according to the Associated Press.
From their perspective, the couple just wants Davis to either resign or do her job. Though they have thought about getting married in another state or county, they want to be recognized in their hometown of Morehead.
“We’re just a normal couple that just wants to spend our lives together,” said Smith.
Davis says she “intends to continue to serve,” but will not go against her religious beliefs. She and her deputy clerks will appear in a federal court hearing on Thursday.