Kim Davis became the center of the national discourse earlier this week for denying marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Rowan County, Kentucky. Now, top politicians have chimed in on the debate over marriage equality and religious freedom. Some 2016 GOP candidates have spoke about Kim Davis, with a few reproaching the defiant anti-gay clerk, but most supporting her violation of gay people's constitutional rights. Davis appeared in federal court on Thursday, and was jailed after being found in contempt of court for refusing to abide by a federal judge's order to issue marriage licenses to all couples. Having already stated that she is acting under God's authority, Davis might feel even more emboldened now by certain candidates' words of encouragement.
Normally, such prominent politicians would not comment on the actions of a county clerk. But Davis' refusal to give marriage licenses to gay couples speaks to a larger issue regarding religious freedom and the authority of the Constitution. Since June, when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had the constitutional right to marry no matter where they lived, Davis has been refusing to abide by the ruling, arguing that issuing licenses to gay couples would violate her religious beliefs. When asked whose authority she was acting under, Davis replied, "Under God's authority."
Now that she's a one-woman symbol in the debate between religion and law, several 2016 presidential candidates have chimed in to offer their stances. So far, no Democratic candidates have commented, but here's what some GOP candidates have said about Davis.
Though she doesn't believe in gay marriage, Carly Fiorina offered one of the more reasonable takes on the situation — basically "obey the law or find work elsewhere." She said on Hugh Hewitt’s radio show on Tuesday:
We should seek a balance between government’s responsibility to abide by the laws of our republic and allowing people to stand by their religious convictions. While the clerk’s office has a governmental duty to carry out the law, there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office.
The never-married Lindsey Graham has a no-nonsense opinion of the issue, and he offered the toughest words for Davis. He said on Hugh Hewitt's radio show on Tuesday: