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With defiant clerk in jail, pair becomes first same-sex couple to wed in Kentucky

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ROWAN COUNTY, Ky. — William Smith Jr. and James "Jim" Yates on Friday morning became the first same-sex couple to receive a marriage license in Rowan County, Kentucky.

The couple received the license from a deputy clerk the day after a federal judge sent County Clerk Kim Davis to jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Davis, the woman who said her religious beliefs prevent her from issuing them, may be budging some.

Mat Staver, Davis' attorney, told CNN's "The Lead with Jake Tapper" his client would issue licenses if her name and title were not on them.

"Because that in her understanding and mind is authorizing something that is contrary to her Christian values and convictions," he said. "That's where the conscience rub is."

Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis was remanded into custody by U.S. District Judge David Bunning Thursday, September 3, 2015. Davis refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples stating doing so was against her religious beliefs.

Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk Kim Davis was remanded into custody by U.S. District Judge David Bunning Thursday, September 3, 2015. Davis refused to issue marriage licenses for same-sex couples stating doing so was against her religious beliefs.

The county clerk spent the night in jail after refusing to abide by the high court ruling on gay marriage. Davis said she couldn't go against her Christian values.

U.S. District Judge David Bunning said Davis would remain behind bars until she complies.

Deputies take over

In Davis' absence, five of her deputies agreed to issue marriage licenses. It's a move that Gov. Steve Beshear welcomed.

"The future of the Rowan County Clerk continues to be a matter between her and the courts. Deputy clerks have said they will commence issuing marriage licenses beginning (Friday)," he said. "It appears that the citizens of Rowan County will now have access to all the services from the clerk's office to which they are entitled."

In court papers, attorneys for Davis argued that she is unable to comply with the court orders because issuing same-sex marriage licenses "irreparably and irreversibly violates her conscience."

But American Civil Liberties Union attorneys contended that Davis has no legal basis to avoid performing her duties as a government clerk.

And a federal prosecutor said it was time for Davis and her county to comply.

"Government officials are free to disagree with the law, but not disobey it," U.S. Attorney Kerry B. Harvey said in a statement. "The County Clerk has presented her position through the federal court system, all of the way to the U.S. Supreme Court. It is time for the Clerk and the County to follow the law."

Bunning said he, too, was religious, but he explained that when he took his oath to become a judge, that oath trumped his personal beliefs, the station reported.

"Her good faith belief is simply not a viable defense," Bunning said.

A different person

Staver, founder of Liberty Counsel, which represented Davis, said he was "stunned" by the judge's ruling.

"Knowing Kim Davis and her strong Christian resolve and convictions, she may be jailed behind bars, but her conscience remains free."

Some scoff at the clerk, suggesting she's a hypocrite because she's been divorced three times.

Davis said she's a different person since becoming a Christian 4½ years ago.

"I am not perfect," she said in a statement. "No one is. But I am forgiven."