It all started last week when Shawn Colvin went to the Daviess County [Indiana] Courthouse to get a marriage license, one of the first same-sex marriage licenses to be issued after the decision to allow the licenses was made by the state. Simple enough except Colvin and his longtime partner Richie Poehlein couldn’t get one.
“At first they told us they were waiting on paperwork from the state,” said Colvin. “So we kept waiting and then came back the next day. That’s when we were told that we wouldn’t be issued a license because of her beliefs.”
Clerk Sherri Healy had made a decision to not issue licenses, partly based on her religious beliefs.
The couple said that their hope was not to become the face of same-sex marriage in the county but rather to provide equal rights to everyone. “Everyone here has been nothing but nice to us,” said Poehlein. “We both grew up here. We are not here for publicity. We just want equal rights.”
“We want Daviess County to see us as Shawn and Richie, not two gay guys,” said Colvin. “You can’t help who you love. I was told by a priest, this isn’t a choice. You can’t help who you love. You just love.”
Colvin and Poehlein’s plight inspired Sydney Leathers of Princeton a take a stand at the Daviess County Courthouse. Leathers, who became a bit of celebrity after the Congressman Anthony Weiner sexting scandal, said she has always been interested in political matters and felt the need to take a stand.
“I had made several phone calls last week to the county attorney’s office,” said Leathers. “I was very angry about what was going on so I posted on Facebook I was going to come stand at the courthouse in support of same-sex marriage. The whole thing just kind of grew from there.”