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Gay couple guilty in marriage license protest, fined one cent

Nov. 26, 2013 at 5:26 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 26 (UPI) -- A Kentucky gay couple were convicted of trespassing and fined a penny Tuesday for refusing to leave a clerk's office after being denied a marriage license.

The Jefferson County jury found the Rev. Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard and his partner Dominique James, guilty of trespassing in a Jan. 22 incident at the county clerk's office.

Blanchard called the sentence, a one-cent fine, a vindication of their protest in favor of same-sex marriage, The (Louisville) Courier-Journal reported.

"I think it is a big victory," Blanchard said after the verdict. "It shows they [the jury] understood what we are saying."

Jesse Halladay, a spokeswoman for the county attorney's office, disclosed the defendants rejected a plea deal in which charges would have been dropped in return for each serving 5 hours of community service at charities of their choice.

Prosecutor Matthew Welch said the evidence against the Louisville couple was overwhelming, with seven witnesses testifying they were trespassing after they were ordered to leave the office, but added he left the amount of the fine up to the jury.

Kentucky has a constitutional amendment banning the performance or recognition of same-sex marriages, the newspaper noted.

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