Maurice 'Bojangles' Blanchard, Gay Baptist Preacher, Arrested After Trying To Marry Partner In Kentucky

A gay Kentucky preacher and his partner were arrested Tuesday after refusing to leave a county clerk's office that denied them a marriage license.

Rev. Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard and Dominique James attempted to secure the license knowing they would be refused, according to ThinkProgress. Same-sex marriages and civil unions were outlawed in Kentucky in 2004 by an amendment to the state's constitution.

Officers arrived to arrest the couple when they remained in the Jefferson County clerk's office after it had closed for the day, according to the Kentucky News Network. Metro police charged both men with trespassing.

According to the Courier-Journal, Blanchard told police he had a "spiritual obligation" to stay, and that he had refused an offer from police to be cited and allowed to leave.

"If we don't act, we are accomplices in our own discrimination," Blanchard charged, according to the Courier-Journal. "We have to resist."

Blanchard made history in May, when he was ordained by Louisville's Highland Baptist Church as an openly gay man, reports the Human Right Campaign. He and James were married in the Unitarian Church six years ago, according to Louisville's WFPL News.

Blanchard has long been an advocate for gay marriage in the area, and is the founder of True Colors Ministry, an LGBT program part of Highland Baptist Church, reports WFPL.

Jefferson County Clerk Bobbi Holsclaw told the Courier-Journal that she was merely upholding state law, adding that the men should have taken up their case with the state legislature instead of with the clerk's office.

Thirty U.S. states have ratified constitutional amendments banning same-sex marriage. However, a poll released in December showed that, out of 1,000 respondents, 40 percent said they supported marriage equality, as compared to 24 percent who said they didn't think same-sex couples should be able to enter any type of legal union.