County hands first same-sex marriage certificate

  • 05/09/2015
Rowan County clerk Kim Davis who refused same-sex marriage (Reuters)
Rowan County clerk Kim Davis who refused same-sex marriage (Reuters)

A US county at the centre of a firestorm for refusing to issue marriage licences to gays has handed out its first certificate to a same-sex couple.

The reversal comes after the Rowan County clerk in Kentucky was ordered jailed for contempt of court on Thursday after refusing to comply with the Supreme Court's June 26 landmark ruling legalising gay marriage.

Kim Davis, an Apostolic Christian, had made headlines for insisting it was against her religious beliefs to do so, ultimately landing her behind bars.

As part of his ruling, Judge David Bunning said Davis's deputies must begin issuing marriage licences on Friday.

Five of the six have complied, with only her son resisting the order, local broadcaster WKYT reports.

Shortly after the Rowan County Courthouse opened on Friday morning, James Yates and William Smith Jr, became the first couple to get a marriage licence - after unsuccessfully trying to do so multiple times, according to the station.

By refusing to issue marriage licences to same-sex couples, Davis went from being a public servant to a heroine for millions of Americans opposed to gay marriage.

The 49-year-old says she is not prejudiced, but simply that her faith trumps all.

"I have no animosity toward anyone and harbour no ill will. To me this has never been a gay or lesbian issue. It is about marriage and God's word," she has said.

On Friday, Davis's husband said his wife was prepared to stay in jail "as long as it takes."

Joe Davis was also quoted by WKYT as saying that Judge Bunning was "a bully".