The standoff that was denying same-sex marriage licenses to couples in a rural Kentucky town has finally come to an end. Officials at the Rowan County Clerk's Office started issuing the licenses again on Friday after a two-month standoff in which clerk Kim Davis refused to allow her staff to perform their jobs. Happy couples are picking up their paperwork while Davis sits in jail for failing to follow a federal judge's orders. The first pair to get a marriage license was James Yates and William Smith, who told Buzzfeed News it was their sixth time at the office. “This is a blessing,” Yates said.
The Supreme Court ruled on June 26 that the right to marriage extends to same-sex couples, and almost every county in the country complied with the ruling within a few days. (There are still two counties in Kentucky that aren't issuing marriage licenses, but so far no one has come forward to challenge those officials.) Four couples sued Davis for turning them away when they applied for marriage licenses. Rather than give them to same-sex couples, the Rowan County Clerk's Office stopped issuing licenses altogether. Every court has ruled that Davis must follow the law, but she still won't do it and thinks she shouldn't have to leave her job — and $80,000 annual salary. Five of Davis' six deputies — the one holdout is her son — told Judge David Bunning that they would follow the law, but Davis has even tried to stop them from jail. The conservative Christian said that putting her name on a marriage license for a same-sex couple would violate her religious freedom.