A county clerk’s office in rural Kentucky issued marriage licenses to two gay couples on Friday morning after defying a U.S. district judge’s orders for months.After 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 marriage license to James Yates and William Smith, who had previously been denied one five times, after the clerk’s office opened on Friday.Attorneys for Davis said on Thursday she would deny her deputies the authority to issue licenses. That raised questions about the validity of the documents until the matter is settled in court. The issuance of the licenses followed months of legal wrangling between Davis and the courts that drew global attention and protests from supporters and opponents of gay marriage.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. She cited her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian that a marriage can only be between a man and a woman.Yates and Smith, who held hands entering and exiting the building, paid $35.50 in cash for the license. Deputy clerk Brian Mason, who had a sign in the office reading “marriage license deputy,” shook their hands and congratulated them. As Yates and Smith exited the building, supporters chanted “Love has won!” Yates said all he wanted to do was hug his parents.”We were more optimistic today,” Yates said, when asked if the couple had been nervous about their sixth attempt to get a license. They now have 30 days to get married, and he said they had two dates picked out, depending on when guests can attend.Off to the side, a Davis backer holding a Bible preached against homosexuality.

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, it issued 214 licenses.About two hours later, another couple, Timothy and Michael Long, got their marriage license. “People shouldn’t have to go through what we’ve been through just to get a basic right,” Timothy Long said.

“SAD DAY IN AMERICA”Two other same-sex couples, including April Miller and Karen Roberts, said they planned to get their licenses on Friday. Miller and Roberts …Read More