Following the Supreme Court’s historic ruling on marriage equality on June 26, supporters nationwide have been celebrating what’s considered an irrefutable victory. But one harrowing truth still remains: prejudices weren’t squashed overnight, and the fight’s not quite over yet.
A same-sex couple from Morehead, Ky., illustrated that point when they filmed themselves being denied a marriage license from their county clerk’s office.
David Moore and his fiancé have been together for 17 years and have lived and paid taxes in Rowan County for 10 years. On Monday (July 6), they went to the Rowan County clerk’s office, armed with an executive order from the Kentucky governor stating that all county-clerk offices are to issue same-sex marriage licenses, as well as a hard copy of the Supreme Court ruling.
The footage begins with the two men outside the office, explaining what they intend to do. They had clearly been warned about the likelihood of being refused a license, and that’s one of the things that makes the video so heartbreaking. Even though you can kind of tell they’re expecting the worst, there’s still a glimmer of hope that maybe — just maybe — justice will be served this time.
Once inside, the men calmly wait for several minutes while other patrons who had entered after them get helped first. Finally, almost eight minutes in, they are told by an employee that “your business has been taken care of.” A police officer (who had apparently been called by employees) also enters the room, assessing the scene from nearby.
The couple then speaks to an employee behind the counter, who refuses to give them a license because of what she says is Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis’ “choice.” “You can go to any other county and get your marriage license, we’re just not doing it at this time,” she tells the men.
Davis finally emerges from her office at the end of the video and demands they turn off the camera and any recording devices, which they eventually comply with.
Davis is currently being sued by the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky on behalf of four other same-sex couples for refusing to give them marriage licenses. Kentucky clerks have been warned that they could be charged with official misconduct (which is punishable by up to a year in jail) for not issuing licenses, but some have still refused, including Davis. She told The Associated Press that she will not comply with the Supreme Court’s decision because of her Christian beliefs.
The ACLU condemned Davis’ hate in a statement, saying, “Ms. Davis has the absolute right to believe whatever she wants about God, faith, and religion, but as a government official who swore an oath to uphold the law, she cannot pick and choose who she is going to serve, or which duties her office will perform based on her religious beliefs.”
In other words, Davis’ bigotry is clearly getting in the way of her job... so maybe she’s not best-suited for it after all.