The Rev. Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard, 34, and his husband Dominique James, 29, were arrested for trespassing on Tuesday after refusing to leave the Jefferson County Clerk’s office, which had denied them a marriage license.
“If we don’t act, we are accomplices in our own discrimination,” Rev. Bojangles told the Louisville Courier-Journal. “We have to resist.”
Blanchard, an ordained minister at Highland Baptist Church, and James marched for an hour outside of the clerk’s office along with four supporters.
The couple — dressed in matching suits and beanies bearing the words “God is Love” — then waked hand-in-hand into the clerk’s office to request a marriage license, fully aware that Kentucky had passed a constitutional ban on gay marriage in 2004.
While he already knew what the clerk’s response would be, Blanchard said it was still “humiliating and degrading” to hear it.
When they refused to leave after the clerk’s office closed at 5 pm, the sheriff was called and the two men were escorted into the back of a squad car. The Reverend said that he was anxious about getting arrested but was “trusting in God and deeply called to do this.”
State law also prohibits any clerk from issuing a license in violation of the amendment, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in prison and removal from office. Though the clerk’s office has an anti-discrimination policy, Jefferson County Clerk Bobbi Holsclaw said her office had no choice but to follow the law.
She added that the two men should have gone to the legislature.
Blanchard and James were married at the First Unitarian Church in Louisville in June 2006, but they wanted the state to recognize their union.
“It is important that the place we have our home and where we worship allows us the same civil rights that others have,” he said. “We love where we are from.”