Oakley in a written statement said:
For four years in a row, I have followed the law and denied marriage licenses to same-gender couples who apply annually on this date. I will continue to follow the law.
But this situation, where following the law requires me as a public official to treat people unequally based on gender, is a painful reminder to me that we have not learned the lessons of courtesy, decency and fairness that we seek to teach to our children.
She concluded by saying:
Today I am protesting this discrimination by giving a special Valentine’s Day memento to people who request one. I do this at my own expense, in the exercise of my own civil right to call for a change in the law I must faithfully administer. I am the hand that must ultimately deny the application of some couples to contract a civil marriage, but I truly believe that the American values of courtesy, decency and fairness mean that if anybody gets a Valentine, everybody should get a Valentine.
The downstairs section by the County Clerk’s Office was jammed with a long line of people waiting to get their certificates. Outside, was a modest group of people who had come to protest this action by Ms. Oakley. Perhaps 40-50 people carried signs saying “Everyone has an equal right to Marriage, Just follow the rules.” Another more radical group carried more hate-filled messages, such as “God’s Word Says: ‘Remove the Evil Person (Freddie) From Among You.'” The ACLU had a counter-demonstration led by Natalie Wormeli and Paul Gerowitz carrying signs such as “Freddie Rocks” and “Who Would Jesus Discriminate Against.”
Those fearful of harsh retributions against Oakley, it appears would be able to rest comfortably. The protest seemed rather small and mostly tame except for the out-of-area group holding the more abrasive and hate-filled message.
All in all, it should be a very happy day for area same-sex couples.
—Doug Paul Davis reporting