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June 27, 2014

Daviess denies same-sex marriage licenses before federal halt

Healy's brother speaks out on decision

Daviess County was one of the few counties in the state not to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples Friday before the federal court stepped in late Friday.

Only six out of Indiana's 92 counties, as of Friday evening, did not issue the licenses. Daviess was the only county in southwestern Indiana that refused to offer the licenses and joined Clay, Decatur Warren, Grant and Adams counties. Late Friday evening, the 7th U.S. Circuit Court in Chicago issued the stay, halting all same-sex marriages while the appeals process continues.

Daviess County officials continued to stick with the reason they were not ordered to issue them by the state attorney general or the federal court that declared Indiana's ban on same-sex marriages unconstitutional. On Friday, Daviess County Attorney Grant Swartzentruber said he doesn’t “have a problem with our clerk for being cautious on this matter.”

“It makes sense for folks to take a little bit of time to see if this order will be stayed,” Swartzentruber said. "In other states where this has happened, the order was stayed."

The state asked for an emergency stay on same-sex licenses while the appeal goes to its eventual destination, the U.S. Supreme Court.

Swartzentruber also said earlier if there is an order granted for Daviess County to issue the licenses, they will follow them.

"Once we know what all the rules are, we will be happy to follow them," Swartzentruber said.

The Daviess County Clerk's office directed all media requests to Swartzentruber. Clerk Sherri Healy did not speak to reporters Friday. Her brother, Kevin Fyffe, who is gay, gave interviews with television stations. Fyffe told WTWO-TV he was "surprised" with his sister's decision.

"You know my sister is a very good person, a very good hearted person," Fyffe said. "I thought she'd be more open minded about this stuff."

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