Reverend Maurice “Bojangles” Blanchard and his partner Dominique James were arrested and charged with trespassing after they refused to leave the Jefferson County Clerk’s office. They two were denied a marriage license. The two cited a “moral obligation” to support marriage equality, and also said that they drew inspiration from Mahatma Gandhi. Blanchard stated that “We have to resist. If we don’t act we are accomplices in our own discrimination.”
The thirty-four year old was ordained last year at Highland Baptist Church. He scheduled the protest for the day after Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Blanchard has started an outreach program for LGBT people at his church. He also said about his protest that “We hope that the voices of protest will echo through this land and equality will come about.” The church itself was not part of the protest.
Kentucky put in a marriage bigotry amendment back in 2004. Any clerk who issues a marriage license to a lesbian or gay couple faces a year in jail and removal from office.
Trying to claim that support for equality would eventually wain, Marin Cothran of the Family Foundation of Kentucky stated that support for the current marriage bigotry law in Kentucky was probably substantial and that “We don’t see that changing any time soon, if ever. At some point — and we could already have reached that point — the shift in opinion toward redefining marriage will bottom out.”
Of course, the sentiment was similar in anti-gay groups prior to the November election just prior to Maine, Maryland and Washington all supporting same-sex marriage with Maine becoming the first state in the Union to pass marriage equality via the ballot box. Attempts to tamp down the significance of these victories has largely fallen flat.
Blanchard and James married in a religious ceremony back in 2006, but do not have any legal recognition. Blanchard stated “We are not there to offend, antagonize or provoke others but to be present in love knowing it will resonate in the hearts of those who see and hear us. It is at its core, LOVE, and our actions, signs and behavior will reflect that.”
The Supreme Court is scheduled to hear arguments regarding the Defense of Marriage Act early this year.