Back in January, we reported on openly gay Louisville Baptist Minister The Rev. Maurice "Bojangles" Blanchard and his partner of 9 years, Dominque James who were arrested after a peaceful "pray-in" at a county clerk's office following their denial of a marriage license. Earlier this week, the two were convicted in criminal court but received a very unusual fine for the offense. The Courier-Journal reports:
After three hours of testimony in which their lawyers hailed them for their civil disobedience, while the prosecution urged jurors to stick to the facts, Blanchard and James were convicted Tuesday of trespassing – but fined only a penny.
Blanchard called the penalty a vindication of their protest in support of same-sex marriage.
"It shows they understood what we were doing," he said after jurors returned their verdict following 90 minutes of deliberations.
James' lawyer, Annie O'Connell, said the fine may have been the smallest ever imposed in a criminal trial in Kentucky.
Blanchard's counsel, Ted Shouse, said in court that he had never tried a case in which the maximum penalty – $250 – "was so low and the stakes were so high."
The paper reports that the jury sent a note to the judge asking if they could convict the defendants and impose no fine, but were notified that they had to fine the defendants something.