Marriage comes to Rowan County, Kentucky

Timothy Kincaid

September 4th, 2015

James Yates and William Smith Jr. paid $35.50 and filled out paperwork early Friday to become the first couple to get a marriage license in Rowan County since the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage June 26. Another couple soon followed.

With Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in jail on civil contempt charges for defying a judge’s order to resume issuing licenses, deputy clerk Brian Mason ended the office’s two-month license ban by politely serving Yates and Smith on Friday, even congratulating them and shaking their hands afterward.

As for Kim Davis, she sits in jail. Where she will remain, I suppose, until she promises not to interfere in the issuance of marriage licenses by her staff.

After today the cameras will leave. Public services are now being issued in a manner that is equal under the law and daily life will resume in Rowan County.

Mike Huckabee and Brian Brown and others of their ilk will continue to rally and to point and scream, “they’re persecuting Christians” and some small segment of society will stay all worked up over this for a while. But the public has moved on and the professionally butthurt will soon find another ‘victim’ to champion.

And eventually Kim Davis will tire of her cell and decide that since she can’t prohibit gay people from marrying, she might as well stop being a martyr. Once the spotlight is off, jail isn’t much fun. And the small blip in the local press indicating some ‘compromise’ of some sort and Kim’s release will be the last of this story.

Mark F.

September 4th, 2015

She can certainly delegate the responsibility of issuing licenses to her clerks, and resume her job. That’s a reasonable compromise IMHO.

Eric Payne

September 4th, 2015

Mark F…

So it would seem. But Kentucky law states all marriage licenses must be signed as valid by the County Clerk; “County Clerk” is an elected position in each county in Kentucky. It is the duty of each clerk to affix their signature to the application for the license, as well as the license, itself.

If she were released before the expiration of her term, she could simply declare the licenses issued during her incarceration, which either do not bear or signature or bear a facsimile of her signature, were not validly issued and, therefore, are voided.

The holders of those licenses are then unmarried and, officially, never were married… and would have to sue to have their marriages reauthorized.

As I said elsewhere: What a world, what a world.

Priya Lynn

September 4th, 2015

” But the public has moved on and the professionally butthurt will soon find another ‘victim’ to champion.”.

If anything Davis is a victim of her lawyers. They gave her terrible advice and wanted her to end up in jail so they could use her for fundraising purposes. They never gave a damn about what was best for Kim Davis.

Dave H

September 4th, 2015

While Kim Davis is in jail, the authority to issue marriage licenses reverts to the county judge-executive, who is complying. So Kim can’t undo those marriage licenses, and she won’t be released from jail until she agrees to issue them. So, I don’t think an outcome of having these marriage licenses invalidated later is possible.

Kim Davis won’t be able to accept any paid appearances at fundie rallies while she’s incarcerated, and I’m sure she’ll wake up to that reality soon.

Dave H

September 4th, 2015

Mark F., I’m sure her deputies were probably doing the day-to-day work of issuing the licenses anyway. Kim’s bugaboo was having her name printed on the license.

Priya Lynn

September 4th, 2015

Dave, I’m sure Kim’s bugaboo wasn’t having her name printed on the license, it was that the licenses were to be issued to gay couples. Having her name on them was just a convenient excuse to try to put a stop to gay couples getting marriage licenses.


September 4th, 2015

I wonder if she is writing the “Letter from the Rowan County Jail.”


September 4th, 2015

Eric is proving prophetic:

Eric Payne

September 4th, 2015


Sadly, it’s not the gift of prophecy… it’s the imprint of the persons around which I was surrounded for the first third of my life. I understand they way they think – and don’t think.


September 5th, 2015

Eric Payne – but as I understand it, if it is physically impossible for the clerk to sign the license, then one of the others whom work in the office has the right to do so. why else would the judge order the others in the office to do the same or face jail time?


September 6th, 2015

@eddie – There does appear to be Kentucky statute that allows Deputy Clerks to perform any function for which the County Clerk is authorized:

KRS 61.035 ( effective July 1, 1953):
Any duty enjoined by law or by
the Rules of Civil Procedure upon a ministerial officer, and any act
permitted to be done by him, may be performed by his lawful deputy.

As a matter of fact, two of Kim’s own *FOUR* marriage licenses were signed (initialed, actually) ONLY by a deputy clerk, and on one of them the County Clerk’s name doesn’t appear at all (not even typed in the space reserved for it). BuzzFeed has copies online of the *FOUR* marriage licenses:


September 6th, 2015

John 30013 – thank you. so this is just more proof that Mat Staver and the liberty council is purposely lying. Which also means that it is not really a Christian organization – wow what a surprise.

Ben in oakland

September 6th, 2015

Or it really IS a Christian organization– of the type that has to tell you how Christian they are, over and over, but won’t tell you how much money they make from it.

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