A gay couple who refused to leave a Louisville, Kentucky county clerk’s office at closing time when they were not issued a marriage license have been fined the lowest possible fine for trespassing.
Openly gay Baptist minister the Rev. Maurice Blanchard and partner Dominique James were arrested in January for refusing to leave the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office.
Prosecutors told the court Tuesday that the evidence that the couple had trespassed was overwhelming but left it to the jury to decide the fine.
The jury could have fined the couple up to $250 but instead decided to award them the lowest possible fine of one cent.
The jury had asked Judge Sheila Collins if they could find the couple guilty but not impose a fine but they were told they had to fine the couple if they found them guilty.
After 90 minutes of deliberation they decided to issue the one cent fine
Blanchard had told the court that he decided to take the action after a member of his congregation was stopped from seeing his dying partner because their relationship was not legally recognized.
‘They said he wasn’t family,’ Blanchard said, according to the Courier-Journal.
Kentucky not only bans same-sex marriage but a county clerk who issues a marriage license for a same-sex couple can be convicted of a crime.