NEWS

Video captures same-sex couple being denied marriage licence in Kentucky

07/09/2015 06:03 EDT | Updated 07/09/2016 05:59 EDT
Two weeks after the U.S. Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage in all 50 states, a Kentucky county clerk refused to give David Moore and his partner of 17 years a marriage licence.

The couple live in Rowan County, Ky. where the clerk, Kim Davis, is now refusing to issue marriage licences of any kind because of her religious beliefs. On July 6, Moore and David Ermold decided to try anyway, bringing along a friend to film the attempt.

"I wanted people to know what it was like to be rejected," Ermold said. "We don't want anyone else to experience this."

In the video, they visit the Rowan County clerk's office, and after waiting eight minutes to be acknowledged, they are then told to obtain their licence elsewhere. They present the Supreme Court ruling and the Kentucky governor's executive order, which requires all clerks to issue licences to same-sex couples — to no avail.

"I'm sorry, that's her choice," the woman behind the counter tells them, referring to Davis. "We have a right too as a Christian, she feels."

Ermold told CBC News he entered the office feeling anxious, and the refusal only emphasized that feeling. "I still felt anxious, nervous and frankly disappointed," he said.

Davis appears in the last 30 seconds of the video and asks them to put the camera away, which they do.

Old Testament referenced

Moore said that after he stopped recording, Davis said she feared for her soul and began referencing the Old Testament.

Moore then told her that it was likely she had provided a marriage licence to rapists or murderers at some point in her career. He asked if she would give a marriage licence to people if she knew they committed such a crime.

"She said she would if they were a man and a woman," Moore said. 

"My conscience will not allow me to issue a licence for a same-sex couple," Davis told the NBC affiliate in Lexington, Ky.

The Rowan County clerk's office declined to comment. A representative referred CBC News to Liberty Counsel, a law firm that specializes in cases around family values and "religious freedom." They didn't immediately respond to a request to comment. 

The couple still likes their community and said that in the roughly 11 years they've lived there, they've encountered a lot of good people.  

"Like anyone else, we want to be able to get a marriage licence," Moore said, with Ermold adding, "Going to another county doesn't resolve the problem here." 

4 other couples denied licences 

They sent a letter to the Rowan County clerk's office, saying they will pursue legal action should the office not issue them a licence by 5 p.m. ET on July 9. 

The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky sued Davis last week on behalf of four couples, two opposite-sex and two same-sex. 

Davis is one of two Kentucky county clerks who refuse to issue any marriages licences following the Supreme Court ruling. 

During a July 6 rally for religious rights,Casey County clerk Casey Davis said, "None of us are going to live here forever, so nature's law will trump any law that man's law writes on a piece of paper."

MORE:cbcNews