It was an emotional scene in Morehead, Kentucky on Friday morning, when James Yates and William Smith Jr. became the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license from the Rowan County Courthouse.
Yates and Smith entered the courthouse, which was swarming with reporters and photographers, shortly after 8 a.m. to apply for the license, The Washington Post reports. Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who was jailed Thursday after she refused to follow the orders of U.S. District Judge David Bunning and issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, had previously rejected Yates and Smith’s request five times, according to the Post.
The pair, who have been together since 2006, finally obtained their marriage license from Davis’s deputy Brian Mason at about 8:15 a.m. Dodging an onslaught of media and same-sex marriage supporters, they quickly made their way out of the courthouse and shared a teary embrace with Yates’s parents, The Los Angeles Times reports.
Meanwhile, Bunning said Davis would remain in jail at least a week, The Chicago Tribune reports. He had offered to release Davis if she promised not to interfere with her colleagues issuing licenses, but the clerk, who is reportedly a Apostolic Christian and attends church three times a week, refused, according to The Los Angeles Times.
Yates told The Louisville Courier-Journal that he and Smith didn't expect to be the first in line on Friday. Neither of them had wanted Davis in jail, he said, but just wanted her to provide a marriage license.
He said the couple has two dates in mind for their forthcoming wedding, which will take place at a family home.
"This means, at least for this area, that civil rights are civil rights," he told the publication. "We're very happy."
Smith echoed those sentiments in an interview with The Lexington Herald-Leader, and simply said, "This is pretty — uh — unusual for us."
A long overdue, well-deserved congrats, gentlemen!