A same-sex couple in Rowan County, Kentucky, filmed themselves as they had their marriage license application denied after a Supreme Court ruling legalized same-sex marriages in all 50 states. And the county is offering a pretty tricky excuse for its denial: It won't give a marriage license to anyone — straight or gay — to avoid marrying same-sex couples.
This is very similar to the tactic being used by some Alabama counties to avoid marrying same-sex (and opposite-sex) couples. The idea is that Rowan County and other counties doing this aren't technically discriminating against same-sex couples' marriage rights because they're not allowing anyone, gay or straight, to marry.
But the strategy already appears to be backfiring: The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky filed a federal lawsuit against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis on behalf of two same-sex and two opposite-sex couples, all of whom were turned away from Davis's office, CBS News reported.
Same-sex marriage advocates all along expected some local and state officials to try to delay the implementation of marriage equality as much as possible. Some Texas counties, for example, briefly tried to cite their religious objections to avoid marrying same-sex couples — before realizing that would violate the Supreme Court ruling (which guarantees same-sex couples the right to marry) and expose them to costly litigation.
But the tactic used by some Kentucky and Alabama counties is a bit surprising, because, if sustained, it means these counties will never marry anyone again. These local officials are, in effect, ending marriage in their counties in order to stand by their view of what marriage should be.
Still, there are now counties marrying same-sex couples in every state, including Kentucky. So if couples are rejected in Rowan County, they can head west on Interstate 64 to marry in Lexington, which will then get any of the fees and revenue attached to a license.
(h/t: Lily Carollo.)