The Washington Times-Herald

Local News

June 26, 2014

Clerk decides not to issue same-sex marriage licenses

Locals marry in Knox, Martin counties

As same-sex couples throughout the state hurry to local courthouses to get marriage licenses, Daviess County will not issue them.

Clerk Sherri Healy said Thursday morning her office would not issue the licenses and at least two couples of those who attempted to get one were denied a license. Although she did receive word from the state Attorney General's office, Healy said there is a "gray area" between the federal court ruling and not an order from the state to issue them. She also cited her biblical belief in denying the license.

"It's such a gray area," Healy said. "I'm not sure what the implications of what that will be. I just want something more concrete and precise."

Wednesday, U.S. District Judge Richard Young declared Indiana's same-sex marriage ban unconstitutional. The order set off a wave of same-sex couples across the state to county courthouses asking for licenses. The attorney general's office, according to the Associated Press, told clerk's offices to "show respect to the judge and the orders that were issued."

Daviess County denied a license to a couple on Wednesday, pending word from the state. That word came after the office closed at 4 p.m. Wednesday. Daviess' neighboring counties, Greene, Knox and Martin, started issuing the licenses as have every other county in southwest Indiana.

Even though that word came from the state encouraging clerks to heed the rule, Healy said she is still not comfortable issuing the licenses because the Young's order was for the five counties named in the original suit, not Daviess County.

"I have to follow the law and I don't want to act on something that is gray," Healy said. "I just can't act on encouragement."

Tensions reached a high point Thursday as Shawn Colvin and partner Richie Poehlin tried several times to be the first same-sex couple issued a license in Daviess County. Colvin said he tried several times to enter the courthouse and the last time, he said Daviess County Sheriff's deputies were in the building for security.

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