FRANKFORT — Casey County Clerk Casey Davis, who is refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, also led a 2006 protest against a performance by a gay playwright and former Marine.
Davis, who has been clerk for 4½ years and is a Separate Baptist minister, reportedly led the protest of about 300 people against the performance in Liberty, the county seat, by Jeff Key, a gay playwright from Alabama.
Coverage of that protest by Central Kentucky News said Davis had asked a public official to stop the performance but was told that could not happen because it was in the Gateway Park community center.
Davis led the protesters in hymns and prayer in 38-degree weather.
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"As long as I'm alive, I will always discriminate against sin," he was quoted as saying at the time.
Davis and dozens of ministers and congregations from churches in Casey, Adair, Russell, Pulaski and Lincoln counties and some from Tennessee made it known they were against the performance. "He needs to understand that he is not welcome here," Davis said of Key at the time. "This is not a hate thing, only a warning for people to know what they are getting themselves into."
Key said in a telephone interview Thursday that he was glad to see the protesters outside the community center when he arrived for the one-man performance of his The Eyes of Babylon. It is about his experiences in Iraq while serving in the Marines.
Key now is on the board of directors for Iraq Veterans Against the War and is founder of The Mehadi Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps gay Iraq veterans and Iraq veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Key said he admired people standing up for what they believed in and appreciated the publicity.
He said he was invited to put on his play in Casey County by someone who had seen it.
"Liberty seemed like a place where another point of view should be introduced. I met Casey Davis that night and sang the second verse of Amazing Grace with him. That's one of my favorites," Key said.
Key said he remembered that Davis told him, "This has nothing to do with hate."
Key said that he was raised in the Church of Christ and that his idea of Christianity is to welcome and love others.
"Casey Davis loves the spotlight as much as I do," Key said. "I pray for the man."
Davis was asked about the 2006 protest after he met privately with Gov. Steve Beshear on Thursday to discuss Davis' refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
Of the protest against Key, Davis said, "That's history. I have nothing to say about it."
Key said Beshear has taken the right course.
"Casey Davis needs to be sued personally," Key said. "He's rebelling against the government. We just don't play like that in America. I would urge him to join ISIS if he wants a theocracy and not a democracy."