Gay Kentucky Couple Fined $0.01 For Staging Marriage Protest

A gay couple in Kentucky have been fined one penny — yes, a single cent — for refusing to leave a Jefferson County clerk’s office after closing time.

According to a report in the Courier-Journal, Dominique James and the Rev. Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard (pictured) refused to leave the county clerk’s office after its 5 p.m. closing time on January 22 when they were denied a marriage license. As a result, they were arrested and booked into a local jail. They were later charged with trespassing.

Blanchard and James were initially offered a plea deal that would have dropped the charges in exchange for five hours of community service. The men turned the deal down, claiming they did not believe they had done anything wrong. After three hours of testimony Tuesday, they were found guilty of breaking the law and fined.

And that’s when things took an interesting turn.

The maximum fine the men faced was $250. Judge Sheila Collins presided over the case. According to the newspaper, the jury sent her note asking if they could convict James and Blanchard without imposing any fine. She informed them that the law required they fine the defendants something.

After a 90 minute deliberation, the jury decided on $0.01.

Collins then discharged the fine and waived the men’s court fees, crediting them for the time they served in jail after their arrest.

James and Blanchard met nine years ago at a cookout. They say they wanted to get married so they could adopt a child together. Even though they were found “guilty” in court, they view yesterday’s ruling as a victory. When asked about the $0.01 fine imposed by the jury, Blanchard said: “It shows they understood what we were doing.”

Same-sex marriage is currently illegal in the state of Kentucky. A constitutional amendment that defined marriage as a union between one man and one woman was adopted by voters in 2004. Perhaps the jury’s decision yesterday is a sign that tides are shifting in the Bluegrass State.

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  • Ruhlmann

    Mail them a cheque.

  • Cagnazzo82

    Hand them a dollar, keep the change [snaps fingers].

    They should just respond in an extremely ridiculously gay manner.

  • Rockery


    Exactly. That’s exactly what I would do

  • Dakotahgeo

    Kentucky indeed seems to be dragged, kicking and screaming, into the 21st century, lolol. They may well be in the top 20 states and W,DC to evolve with SSM! Hoorah!!!

  • Geoff B

    @Dakotahgeo: Couple that with the fact that Mitch McConnel is only polling in a tie with his likely general election opponent, my neighbor to the south might prove to be evolving. Good on this judge!

  • Dakotahgeo

    @Geoff B: :-) This… is good!

  • jeff4justice

    The cop thugs could have just sent them outside without arrest. The entire legal system is a joke from judges to cops to prosecutors to juries and most of all law-making “representatives.” Once you read or listen to Adventures In Legal Land by Marc Stevens you’ll never look at the clown courts the same.

    Online search: Fully Informed Jury Association.

    No victim = no crime.

  • balehead

    It was closing time…..even straights would have been asked to leave…

  • Dakotahgeo

    @jeff4justice: Sadly, I’m agraid you are correct. There was a time (probably around the ‘Wizard of Oz’ era) where the police were the most trusted people and the citizens honored them. Not today IF they even show up in an emergency, it’s usually 15-30 minutes late and they’re no earthly help. The prosecutors do their best but with ‘purchased’ Judges, the criminals usually walk or end up in medium security with the truly innocent. It’s a mess and I’ve seen it up close as a Chaplain and in close contact with inmates through a singing group I am with. Sad, sad era we’re going through.

  • kayakriver

    a 1 cent fine is symbolic, receiving the infraction is what matters.

  • the other Greg

    “They say they wanted to get married so they could adopt a child together.”

    Apples and oranges.

    Whatever its views on marriage, Kentucky already allows adoption by gays, as does every state.

  • doug105

    @jeff4justice: If you had bothered to read the story somewhere else you would see one of the cops took the time shake hands with them.

  • Volvoguy

    To the other Greg, yes they can adopt kids,
    only as a single parent not as a couple.
    U have to be a rep. Only telling half the story.
    Typical !!!

  • Volvoguy

    Putting them in jail, are u fucking kidding me.
    Where is Kentucky near Uganda, totally unreal
    Get ready Kentucky your on the list with,pa
    to go down on this discrimination and bigotry
    Another Cheney and bush victory, a-holes.

  • Kieru

    @jeff4justice: Assuming the coupled refused a police request that they leave the premises, the police had two options:

    1.) Arrest them for breaking the law; this allows them to physically remove the couple from the space.
    2.) Physically remove them without charges; risking a serious scandal and lawsuit.

    The police acted accordingly. The Judge and Jury acted responsibly and in a manner that shows while they must follow the law (which the couple DID violate), they find the couples reasons FOR the violation to be admirable.

    You should be happy with this turn of events, not using it as a podium for anti-police dialogue.

  • JDJase

    @the other Greg: If you don’t know what you’re talking about, you should refrain from commenting.

    @Kieru: My thoughts exactly.

  • iMort

    If they went through the process of a jury trial, that is an excellent commitment of time and probably will do a lot of good!

  • the other Greg

    @Volvoguy: @JDJase: My point was more that adoption and marriage are two entirely separate legal concepts.

    Gay couples in New York, for instance, were adopting for years (indeed decades) before marriage arrived there this year.

    But you are correct that Kentucky considers SINGLE gay people to be acceptable prospective adopters, but when KY is confronted with a gay COUPLE who wants to adopt, for some reason the state thinks this is weird.

    When I looked it up, you are right (the article says nothing about that angle, particularly), and I have to admit it never would have occurred to me that a state could be that fucked up. But, I live in civilization.

  • newecreator

    @Cagnazzo82: Damn!

  • newecreator

    Penny for their thoughts?

Comments are closed.