A Holdout County Relents on Same-Sex Marriage

Editor’s Note: This article previously appeared in a different format as part of The Atlantic’s Notes section, retired in 2021.

James Yates and William Smith Jr. became the first same-sex couple to get a marriage license in Rowan County, Kentucky.

Deputy clerk Brian Mason ended the county’s defiance of the Supreme Court’s June 26 ruling on same-sex marriage, a day after Kim Davis, the county clerk, was jailed for contempt. Davis, as Matt noted, cited her Christian faith and refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of a federal district court order.

You can watch Yates and Smith get their marriage license below:

The Lexington Herald-Leader has more:

"Love won!" marriage equality protesters shouted outside the Rowan County courthouse as the men emerged. Across the sidewalk, a crowd of people who support Kim Davis stood mutely, save for one man screaming quotes from the Bible about Sodom and Gomorrah.

Yates and Smith said they were "overwhelmed" by the moment, and now they need to set a wedding date. Together since 2006, they are among the local couples who sued Davis for a marriage license after she repeatedly turned them away.

"This is pretty — uh — unusual for us," said Smith, looking dazed as he elbowed his way through dozens of reporters from around the country and an equal number of well-wishing supporters.

A second couple, Michael and Timothy Long, followed about an hour later.