By Richard Fausset
A same-sex couple received a marriage license here on Friday, the first such couple to get one a day after the county clerk, Kim Davis, was jailed by a federal judge for refusing court orders to issue the licenses.
The couple, James Yates, 41, and William Smith, Jr., 33, entered the Rowan County Courthouse shortly after it opened, walking through throngs of protesters. Supporters of Ms. Davis yelled Bible passages and held up signs, including one briefly held up by Ms. Davis’s husband, Joe Davis, that read, “Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah.”
On Thursday, Ms. Davis, who has become a symbol of religious opposition to same-sex marriage, was jailed for contempt after defying a federal court order to issue licenses to gay couples. She later rejected a proposal to allow her deputies to grant the licenses, which could have led to her release.
After one of Ms. Davis’s lawyers told a federal court on Thursday that she would not retreat from her stand Judge David L. Bunning secured commitments from five of Ms. Davis’s deputies to begin giving out the licenses.
“The court cannot condone the willful disobedience of its lawfully issued order,” Judge Bunning said in holding Ms. Davis in contempt. “If you give people the opportunity to choose which orders they follow, that’s what potentially causes problems.”
On Friday, Mr. Yates and Mr. Smith, with clasped hands and tight smiles, made their way through a dense thicket of reporters and photographers and stood before an employee of the clerk’s office, one of five who had told Judge Bunning the day before that they would issue licenses in Ms. Davis’s absence.
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