The Kentucky clerk's office that had refused to issue marriage licenses to gay couples in defiance of orders by a federal judge on Friday morning ended its resistance.
While Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was jailed on Thursday for refusing to follow the orders of U.S. District Judge David Bunning, her deputies processed a license for James Yates and William Smith, who had previously been denied one, after the office doors opened on Friday.
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Davis, who has become a darling of social conservatives, had refused to issue any marriage licenses under an office policy she created after the U.S. Supreme Court in June made gay marriage legal across the United States, citing her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian.
Yates and Smith paid $35.50 in cash for the license and deputy clerk Brian Mason shook their hands and congratulated them. It was the 100th marriage license issued by the clerk's office this year and the first one since the Supreme Court ruling. Last year, the clerk's office issued 214 marriage licenses.
Emotions have run high on all sides as Davis and an attorney for one of the four couples who sued the county clerk said they had received death threats. A Kentucky legal trade publication reported the judge had also received a death threat.
Outside the courthouse, ahead of the clerk's office opening on Friday, there were few demonstrators, unlike on Thursday, when Davis was jailed after her hearing in Ashland.
Davis' husband stood outside the courthouse on Friday morning, holding a sign that read, "Welcome to Sodom and Gomorrah," said he wished he could trade places with his wife and urged all sides to avoid violence.
"We don't hate these people," he told reporters. "That's the furthest thing from our hearts. We don't hate nobody. We just want to have the same rights that they have."