A same-sex couple in Morehead, Ky., went to the county clerk Monday requesting a marriage license — but were met instead by local police after Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis refused to issue the license.
The couple filmed the encounter with officers and the clerk, who is currently facing a lawsuit from the American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky for refusing to abide by the recent Supreme Court ruling that brought marriage to all 50 states.
David V. Moore and his fiancé went to the Rowan County Clerk's office, armed with a copy of that Supreme Court ruling, in addition to Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear’s executive order requiring all county clerks to issue marriage licenses. In the video, employees appear to ignore the legal documents provided, continuing to refuse the couple's request for a marriage license, while the Clerk Davis hid in the back of the office.
Writing on his Facebook wall, Moore says, "We were denied a marriage license on Monday, July 6 at the Rowan County Clerk's office. Kim Davis is at the end of the video, but we turned it off at her request."
The recording shows the men entering the clerk's office and waiting patiently while other residents — including people who came in after the couple — are served. Staff at the counter refuse the men's request and tell them that Clerk Davis is "busy right now." Then employees called the police, insisting that the couple's supporters stop filming the anticipated rejection.
A police officer arrives at the office toward the end of the video and speaks with employees. When Clerk Davis finally emerges from her office (around the 11 minute mark), she tells the supporter to "Put your phone away." The two continue to bicker for a moment before the video ends.
Kentucky law does not forbid filming any interactions with public officials in a public place.
Davis was sued by the ACLU last week for refusing to issue marriage licences to any couples — gay or straight — citing "religious concerns." She is one of two clerks in Kentucky who are still refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
In a press release issued after the group filed suit, ACLU of Kentucky's cooperating attorney Laura Landenwich stated, "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."
The video of the encounter has more than 240,000 views at press time.