WATCH: KY Minister Arrested After Protesting Denial Of Gay Marriage License

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.”

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  • rextrek

    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.”

    glad u like where you live, but its a HELL-HOLE of Bigotry!

  • Merv

    I have more respect for the bigots. At least they acknowledge Christianity is a hateful religion. This minister needs to read his Bible and then pick another religion, or preferably no religion at all.

  • Dinodogstar i am going to sound hyper-critical here, and pertty judgemental and condemning ( does that qualify me for acceptance into a seminary?), but it is the responsiblity of an a particular religion or sect to question, address and eliminate predudice and discrimination- in this case, in Chritian religions….in the same mammer as it is the responsiblity of white folks to end predudice and discrimination against anyone, and it’s not the victims’ job to do. The minister is acting very Christ-like in my opinion..Bravo!

  • lemon-lime

    @Merv: Dude. Look at what you just said. Stop. Look at it again.

    You are the problem here, not this guy or his religious convictions.

  • lemon-lime

    @Dinodogstar: Everyone keeps clamouring for the Christians to step up and defend our rights, and then when one really steps it up and does something very brave and (imho) Christ-like, we have ignorant jerks like @Merv‘s which say they prefer the bigots who would happily lynch him if it were still legal to do so. Sometimes I really feel like throwing my hands.

  • Merv

    @lemon-lime @lemon-lime:

    First of all, this guy is gay, so it’s not exactly a profile in courage to say that he is against persecuting himself. Find me a real Christian who believes these things. You can’t, because by definition a Christian is someone who follows the Bible, and if you don’t hate gay people you’re not following the Bible.

    It’s time we took off the rose-colored glasses. Christians are the enemy, always have been, and always will be. Besides calling for the execution of gay people, the Christian religion also explicitly condones slavery and genocide. Anyone who calls himself a Christian is saying that he thinks slavery, genocide, and executing gay people is A-OK. Our preoccupation with trying to differentiate between “good” Christians and “bad” Christians is distracting us from the moral clarity we need for victory.

    Now, is there anything Christians can do to reform themselves? Only one: Edit the Bible to remove the objectionable passages on slavery, genocide, and homosexuality. When the Bible was originally compiled at the council of Nicea, they excluded writings that they did not think were inspired by their god, so, unless they think their god supports these things, they should have no fundamental objections to fixing the Bible. Short of this, it’s too little, too late.

  • Dakotahgeo

    Good on the Rev and his husband! Let the bigots learn the hard way and die by their own mistakes. It will eventually catch up to them… just a matter of time before the South is known for Same Sex Marriage! Congrats!

  • Badger88

    @Merv: Why does a true Christian have to accept every word in the Bible? The very word CHRISTian means “follower of Christ.” Not “follower of Moses” or “follower of Paul.” Jesus never spoke one word of support for slavery, genocide, nor did he condemn homosexuality. The only commandments Jesus ever taught were love and compassion.
    If you don’t believe in religion, fine. But don’t shun our Christian gays and allies for your own intolerance.

  • Merv

    @Badger88: I don’t know why Christians have to accept every word in the Bible, but they do. That’s what the spokesmen of Christianity have been saying, unopposed, for the last 40 years or so: The Bible is the inerrant word of God, and every word is literally true. If the so-called moderates wanted to speak up, they had their chance years ago. Again, anything they say now is too little, too late.

  • milo

    @Merv: As a gay Christian myself, I agree that the church (and almost all world religions) have a lot to answer for in the way many people in the church have twisted the meaning of the Bible into a hateful, destructive message. However, all Christians do *not* believe in Biblical inerrancy/literal interpretation of the Bible. A relative of mine, a Bible scholar, wrote a book explaining Jonah as a parable, not an account of an actual event. All Christians think executing gay people is A-OK? Not my 86-year-old Methodist mom, my dear fundamentalist friend who accepts me as I am, or my best friend’s devoutly spiritual Christian parents. (My pal is gay and a Christian as well.) And there are increasing numbers of clergy in numerous denominations, straight as well as gay, who are welcoming, inclusive, and non-judgmental, who do not want LGBT folk to “change” as a condition of their acceptance. Trust me, I understand only too well the pain that too many religious people have inflicted on our community because of ignorance and fear — but please try not to turn it around and do the same thing to all people of faith yourself. : )

  • Dakotahgeo

    @milo: Thank you, milo! Well said. Anyone who is well versed in the Bible and even basically knowledgeable in its contents is well aware that the Bible is not only errant, but a great majority of “stories” are paradoxes and simply metaphors to teach and guide people to the truth. Many mainline denominations today do NOT support inerrancy in the Bible and are fully inclusive for all LGBTQ people of faith. The fundamentalist conservatives still seem to have this stubborn fishbone of inerrancy stuck in their craw. Pity them… pray for them!
    Dakotahge, M.Div. Pastor/Chaplain

  • Merv

    @milo@Dakotahgeo: I still don’t get what’s stopping you from editing the Bible to remove passages in favor of slavery, genocide, and murder of homosexuals. If God doesn’t believe in those things, then he is being horribly misrepresented. I would think it would be a top priority to set the record straight.

    It’s not just that Christianity has randomly caused “pain” here and there. It’s not an anomaly, it’s the overwhelming history of thousands of years of extreme oppression and outright murder of gay people, even up until the present day. Even in the US, until 2003, there were states where homosexuality was punishable by life in prison. Those laws are still on the books, if currently unenforceable. Anti-gay forces in the US are monolithically Christian. They don’t even pretend to make a secular argument anymore. The two largest denominations in the US, Catholics and Southern Baptists, are stridently and viciously anti-gay. The few so-called moderate denominations are tiny in comparison, and shrinking rapidly.

    If we judge Christianity by its actions, then it is evil. Evil needs to be fought, and the moderates need to get out of the way. Quit providing cover for the bigots by calling yourselves Christians. Accept the reality of what Christianity is, instead of what you wish it were. If your religion is that important to you, then edit your holy book, find a new name for your religion, and move forward.

  • zkenn17

    The article fails to mention this happened in Louisville, KY (Louisville Metro includes the whole of Jefferson County). While KY as a whole is fairly homophobic, Louisville is an oasis of tolerance in the state.
    I am a gay man who lives here in Louisville, KY with my boyfriend of 5 years. Not once have I felt unsafe in this town. Louisville enacted an anti-discrimination law that included gender identity/expression in 1999. They did this years before other, way bigger “more progressive” cities included the “T” in LGBT.( The metro area boasts 2 pride events a year, one huge Kentuckiana (an unfortunate contraction of the Louisville Metro area and southern Indiana border area) Pride, and a newer Kentuckiana Black Gay Pride event.
    Unfortunately, the city is inside of the commonwealth of Kentucky and has to abide by the amendment.
    Good on the Rev. and his hubby!!!

  • zkenn17

    @zkenn17: video mention Louisville, and article states they were married in Louisville, sorry! Either way, the town is awesome, but unfortunately a part of the Commonwealth of KY

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