Politics
Update 4:45 p.m.: Rowan County Same-Sex Marriage Licenses Invalid, Attorney Says

An attorney for Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis says that marriage licenses issued Friday morning by deputy clerks are invalid.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis remained in the Carter County Detention Center, where she’s been since a federal judge’s held her in contempt for defying an order to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Meanwhile her deputy clerks, under threat of similar imprisonment, resumed issuing marriage licenses morning — against Davis’ wishes.

“They are not being issued under the authority of Rowan County and they’re not worth the paper that they’re written on,” said Mat Staver,  chair of Liberty Counsel, the nonprofit law firm that is representing Davis.

Sam Marcosson, a law professor for the University of Louisville, said the marriage licenses are valid because Davis had no authority to stop issuing them in the first place.

“Since she’s acting contrary to her legal duties and without authority any actions she would take to block the marriage licenses would be invalid,” he said.

The judge has Davis will remain in jail until she complies with the order to issue marriage licenses.

Update 10:37 a.m.: More Details

James Yates and William Smith Jr., the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in Rowan County, had been denied five times before. But not on Friday.

On Friday morning, Deputy Clerk Brian Mason issued the document to them, reports NPR’s Eyder Peralta.

Peralta adds:

Mason was all business. He checked their licenses asked them if they were related, took their $35 and in about five minutes, handed them an envelope and said, “Congratulations.”

Yates and Smith had become the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license.

They exited to chants of, “Love has won. Love has won.”

“I don’t want her in jail,” Yates said, about Davis. “No one wanted her in jail. We just wanted the licenses given out. This isn’t a blessing. It’s an official license.”

He grew emotional.

“This means, at least for this area, civil rights are civil rights and they’re not subject to beliefs.”

Meanwhile, Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis remained in the Carter County Detention Center. She was sent there the day before by U.S. District Judge Davis Bunning, whose order to issue marriage licenses were at the center of the national controversy.

Kentucky Public Radio’s Ryland Barton notes that protesters have gathered in Grayson, which is about 40 miles driving from Morehead.

Davis has refused to issue marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in June. She’s said doing so would violate her deeply held religious beliefs. Earlier: A Rowan County deputy clerk issued a marriage license to a same-sex couple Friday morning, ending a months-long protest from the office led by Clerk Kim Davis, who remains in jail on a contempt of court charge. James Yates and William Smith Jr. were issued the license shortly after the clerk’s office opened in Morehead on Friday:

rowan county couple marriage licenseEyder Peralta / NPR

Earlier this morning, Joe Davis — Kim Davis’ husband — addressed the media outside the clerk’s office. He remained defiant, saying his wife and other clerks had been “bullied.” He said Kim Davis was in good spirits after having spent the night in the Carter County Detention Center.