And so it came to pass that same-sex couples received marriage licenses this morning from the Rowan County clerk’s office.
A gay couple emerged from the office of a defiant county clerk with a marriage license in hand Friday morning, embracing and crying after a lengthy standoff that landed the clerk in jail for her refusal to issue the licenses because she opposed same-sex marriage.
William Smith Jr. and James Yates, a couple for nearly a decade, were the first to receive a marriage license Friday morning in Rowan County. Deputy clerk Brian Mason issued the license, congratulating the couple and shaking their hands as he smiled. After the couple paid the license fee of $35.50, James Yates rushed across the steps of the courthouse to hug his mom as both cried.
A crowd of supporters cheered outside as the couple left, with a street preacher raining down words of condemnation. Yates and Smith said they are trying to choose between two wedding dates and plan a small ceremony.