Kentucky clerk who fought gay marriage is released from jail

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis cries out after being released from the Carter County Detention Center, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Grayson, Ky. Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, was released Tuesday after five days behind bars. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

GRAYSON, Ky. (AP) — The Kentucky county clerk jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples was released Tuesday after five days behind bars, emerging to a tumultuous hero’s welcome from thousands of supporters waving large white crosses.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, with Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, left, at her side, speaks after being released from the Carter County Detention Center, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2015, in Grayson, Ky. Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who was jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples, was released Tuesday after five days behind bars. (AP Photo/Timothy D. Easley)

“I just want to give God the glory. His people have rallied, and you are a strong people,” Kim Davis told the crowd after stepping outside, her arms raised like a victorious boxer, to the blaring “Rocky”-sequel theme song “Eye of the Tiger.”

Her lawyer refused to say whether she would defy the courts again.

“Kim cannot and will not violate her conscience,” said Mat Staver, founder of the Liberty Counsel, the Christian law firm representing Davis. As for whether she will issue licenses, Staver said only: “You’ll find out in the near future.”

The Rowan County clerk whose defiance has made her a hero to many on the religious right walked free after the federal judge who ordered her locked up lifted the contempt ruling against her, saying he was satisfied that her deputies were fulfilling their obligation to grant licenses to same-sex couples in her absence.

But U.S. District Judge David Bunning also warned Davis not to interfere again, or else she could wind up back in jail.

Davis, 49, has refused to resign her $80,000-a-year job. As an elected official, she can lose her post only if she is defeated for re-election or is impeached by the state General Assembly. The latter is unlikely, given the legislature’s conservative slant.

As the surprise news of her impending release spread, a crowd of dozens of supporters who had gathered on the jailhouse lawn for a previously scheduled rally swelled to thousands. They broke into “Amazing Grace” and “God Bless America” and waved signs, flags and crosses.

Photo: Clerk Kim Davis (2nd from right) poses for photo with Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (left) following her release from Kentucky jail – @GovMikeHuckabee

Cries of thanks to Jesus echoed through the crowd as Davis emerged next to Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee and her husband, Joe, who was in overalls and a straw hat. Huckabee and fellow GOP White House candidate Sen. Ted Cruz visited her at the jail just after the decision came down.

“If somebody has to go to jail, I’m willing to go in her place,” said Huckabee, a former Baptist minister and Arkansas governor. “She has shown more courage than any politician I know.”

Natalie Ferguson, who came to the rally from Elora, Tennessee, said: “We have to stand because if we sit back and be quiet, you know then as a Christian community we’re going to get run over.”

Davis was locked up on Thursday for the boldest act of resistance by a public official yet to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June that effectively legalized same-sex marriage across the nation. Citing “God’s authority” and her belief that gay marriage is a sin, Davis, an Apostolic Christian, stopped issuing all marriage licenses.

Two gay couples and two heterosexual ones sued her. Bunning ordered Davis to issue the licenses, and the Supreme Court backed him. But she still refused and was held in contempt of court and hauled off to jail in handcuffs, igniting protests from religious conservatives. They rallied for days at her office, at the jail and outside the judge’s home.

The timing of her release after just five days came as something of a surprise. Last week, Bunning said that he might reconsider his decision to jail her in a week.

Five of Davis’ six deputy clerks — all except her son, Nathan — agreed to issue licenses to gay couples with Davis behind bars. In lifting the contempt order, Bunning asked for updates on the clerks’ compliance every two weeks.

On Tuesday, Staver, Davis’ lawyer, maintained that the licenses issued by her deputies are invalid. But the Kentucky attorney general’s office said it believes otherwise.

Dan Canon, an attorney for the couples who sued, said they will ask the judge to again hold Davis in contempt if she returns to work and blocks her deputies from dispensing licenses.

“We are hoping she is going to comply with it. We’ll have to see,” Canon said. “But if experience is a teacher, Ms. Davis just doesn’t believe that court orders apply to her.”

Davis’ dispute has offered some of the GOP presidential candidates an opportunity to appeal to many on the party’s evangelical Christian wing, which opposes gay marriage and has cast her jailing as an issue of religious freedom.

On Monday, her lawyers took their case to a federal appeals court, asking that she be allowed to remove her name and title from marriage certificates issued in Rowan County so that she would not have to act against her conscience.

Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat like Davis, reiterated Tuesday that he will not call a special session of the legislature to overhaul the marriage-licensing process by taking it out of the hands of county officials and making it a state function.

“Hopefully we can move forward now. We need to be thinking about so many things about the future of Kentucky,” he said.

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis, who recently bicycled more than 400 miles across Kentucky in solidarity with Kim Davis, called her jailing a “total injustice.” He is not related to her.

He said he is not issuing any marriage licenses, and suspects the conflict could come to his county next. He said only one same-sex couple has inquired about a license in his county and was told there were no licenses being issued, and that’s the last Davis heard from them.

He said he, too, would be willing to go to jail.

5 thoughts on “Kentucky clerk who fought gay marriage is released from jail

  1. I’m torn when it comes to this issue… To call her a hero for breaking the law is not a good thing. She should have X-herself out of performing her job in this particular case, because of her beliefs. And the couple should have accepted that as HER choice to do so.
    It was ruled as LAW for every state of the union to issue licenses to these groups of individuals. A Federal law.
    God does not like animosity or anger or strife. Christians are to love the person and state that the love of God is for all. We must show by example, by compassion, by demonstrating the love of God. Unfortunately secular society thinks differently and has change/is changing the laws of the land to fit their agenda rather then following God’s.
    God’s LAW is also violated. His code of conduct found in Scripture’s has been twisted and changed by the very person(s) that should preach, teach it. We’re influence by a powerful agent of darkness who thrives in/on chaos and unless we change from the inside (a change of heart), secular society will label us hate mongers. Which is the very opposite of what Christianity is about.
    Should she have stood for her beliefs, absolutely! but not by breaking the law. We should stand for the truth of the Gospel.
    But we’re still governed by laws and regulations that must be adhere to or it becomes a free fall. I read an editorial today, where the individual stated “the Bible is a myth of fables passed down through word of mouth through the centuries and that the Bible is not the law of the land. As long as the Constitution is in effect, it will never be.” I hate to break it to the person, BUT the Constitution was indeed based on the Bible! It’s principals. America WAS found as a refuge for persecuted religious people. (If this person would have open its pages the individual would have notice the comparison.) The Holy Scriptures was preserved through the ages for God’s purpose. God’s history book of the past, present and future events, His manual of instructions to us where prosperity and true freedom abound. Two simple rules has people all a fuddle: Love God above all things and love your neighbor as yourself. Two tablets elaborate this, as well as the books within the Bible.
    The Constitution would have never been written otherwise.
    Everyone has a right to life and liberty of his/her choosing within the constraints of the law. God Himself gave us FREE WILL to choose for ourselves our own path. A path of righteousness or rebellion. We are to live in the land but not be a part of it does not mean breaking the law. We’re to excuse ourselves from performing acts that violate God’s supreme law and by doing so teach others there IS a Supreme Being that governs all and loves us.
    In my opinion, she did the right thing by standing by her beliefs, but went about it the wrong way. If she was going to/in jail because of her beliefs then I would have signed her petition to free her, but she went because she broke Federal law and didn’t step down. You can still plea your case of violating God’s laws, if this lands you in jail then IT violates your freedom of religion.
    God bless. Maranatha!

  2. Thanks for your comment SweetJava.

    However, I’m not so sure I agree with you. We are to obey the laws of our government, unless they violate the laws and principles of our God. Has the government overstepped its bounds? I believe so.

    First of all, it is not the job of the Supreme Court to make laws. So there really was not a law created by the Federal government to establish gay marriage.

    Second, even if they did, does it break God’s laws and principles? Yes, I believe it does. Marriage was created by God, a sacred and holy institution between one man and one woman.

    So the question is “Did Mrs. Davis do the right thing by not issuing marriage licenses to gay couples?” Yes, I believe that she did.

    Does this mean that the secular world will see it that way? No. Does that mean that if we stand for God’s laws and principles which may be unlawful by societies standards, that we may incur penalties and even jail time? Yes it does.

    Standing for God, can also mean taking a stand against the laws of the land. This will be part of our persecution, just as Christ was persecuted by the Jews.

    If the government institutes other laws, such as no praying, will you obey it? Daniel didn’t, he broke the law, and then he was thrown into a den of lions.

    This gay marriage issue is only the beginning of government persecution in America against Christians. The first step in undermining our faith, our beliefs, and the laws and principles of God. What’s next, throwing Christians into prison for sharing our faith with the unsaved world?

    I respect your beliefs and opinions SweetJava, however, I do feel that Mrs. Davis did the right thing.

    God bless my friend! Maranatha

  3. I didn’t mean to offend or disregard her good intentions —just torn with both sides. I was thinking more on the lines of ‘give to Caesar…’ not Daniel. I came at it from a different angle. I see your point Gordon, clearly in referring to Daniel and agree with you. I too would fight for my right to practice my faith based on God’s written word.
    Our country has changed drastically from its Judeo-Christian values. Laws are passed with the stroke of a pen. This law was passed by the Supreme Court the highest in the land, I realize Congress has the only authority to make it federal. Yet they did not do either to dismiss it or make it so. Making it a decree to be followed by every state of the union by the courts. Thereby, my assumption of it being federal, by them doing nothing, shows their consent. I was wrong in calling it a Federal law legally (federal in my warp sense, that its still biding in all states).

    I understand and acknowledge her courage. More people should have the courage to stand under adversity, scrutiny to prove their convictions and demonstrate they stand with a Higher Authority then man. I applaud her fortitude to stand firm even under persecution. I still believed she would have gotten further had she stepped down.

    I took my argument above and within me from a different perspective.
    God’s laws are still violated and that’s the heart of the matter. Not answering some basic questions myself: Did she serve God.?. Did she enhance the cause of righteousness.?. Did she strengthen traditional marriage.?.
    -Yes, she served God by going with what God ordains a marriage to be, between one woman and one man in refusing to issue the license to the same sex couple. She also did not issue any marriage license to anyone. But being Head Deputy her signature is required to validate the document legally. This is where her conscious of God’s law and her position battled over and couldn’t legally authorize the license, which is part of her job description. At this point she should have stepped down. Before this law was passed she took an oath to abide by the laws of her office and state to uphold. If those terms can’t be met then stepping down was her only option. This action would have proven her a martyr for standing her ground on her religious freedom; making a sacrifice for her beliefs and facing the consequences there of, like Daniel facing the lions.
    -Did she enhance the cause of righteousness.?. again yes, in refusing them their right – issued by the courts, and them taking her to court, even suing her (this is malicious), brought it out in the open for all Christ abiding citizens to stand for God’s justice, God’s ways, God’s laws, truth. Yet it also caused divisions, higher intolerance even anger among people who have different views or/and are disengaged from the Judeo-Christian values established by our forefathers (with God’s blessings), back at the start of this republic. The struggles this law has caused the Christian community and the can of worms the actions of the higher court has brought upon the land is only going to deepen. Said to say, We are seeing the fruits of this monumental decision.
    The judge had to adhere by the law, and it landed her in jail for a few days. People rallied for and against her. I was torn between admiring her and giving to Caesar his due. And so my earlier comment.
    -Did she strengthen traditional marriage.?. Afraid not, she didn’t change or reverse the law, But had everyone talking about it even presidential candidates. And that’s a good thing. With enough prayers and fortitude we just might strengthen traditional marriage established by God since the beginning of creation.

    I have since reread Daniel’s struggles along with his friends (Dan. ch.’s 3-6) in refusing the king’s edicts and paid the consequences for their actions, with the Lord beside them no harm was found on them. The king was the one who defiled God knowing where Daniel and his friends stood. Yet he too had change of heart and praised God. While the cohorts that wanted Daniel’s demise, perished. God is not mocked. And through the centuries it’s being proven with the rise and fallen empires.
    I believe God’s authority is ultimately supreme. His laws, status, and principals are for everyone and issued for balance and harmony. We all have free will to love God or not. In the end there is only two sides, choose wisely.

    Upon her release she issued a statement that she loved God, loved people and her work and hopes “We all continue to respect these values and that America remains a place where all three can live in harmony.” I totally agree. Amen. God bless.

  4. No offense taken SweetJava, and I was also giving you my point of view and what I believe to be the right thing to do. It’s not always easy trying to figure out just what to do. I did not respond to your comment out of anger, or mean to offend you either, and I hope you did not take it that way.

    I still believe that she did the right thing. Should she have stepped down? That’s another topic of discussion, however, if she did then does this mean that Christians should not hold positions in public office if our beliefs in our God contradict the laws of the land? Does this then mean that Christians should not run for president, and if they do, when there are laws which contradict their beliefs should they compromise their faith?

    I don’t have all of the answers and I’m still trying to figure it all out!

    If Christians hold to their faith in God, and they for instance choose not to cater a gay wedding, should they close their business? Or should they compromise their faith in God and just do it? Just where do we draw the line, at what point do we say I will stand for my God if society goes against His values?

    This is only the beginning of Christian persecution in America.

    I heard a pastor speaking on the radio today, he was talking about a school, not sure where but I think in Texas, and some teachers were making their students act like Muslims, some were teaching them how to be Muslims, and others were teaching the children how to convert to Islam! This seems to be ok with the secular world, however, if the tables were turned, and they have been, what would the world say if Christians were doing the same thing?! We already know what would happen, God has already been taken out of public schools!

    We all need to figure out just what we would do in similar situations. The time is coming for most of us to have to make these decisions for ourselves, our beliefs, and our faith! I pray the good Lord gives us wisdom and guidance at the right time! Amen

    God bless my friend!

  5. Yes, we are both discussing a very touchy subject and trying to debate it in a civilize matter, that with Our Lord’s help we can come to a better understanding. As we both know the times ahead are only going to produce more conflicts for Christ abiding citizens, as secular world gets even further away from the truth of the Gospel. I believe we’re being separated into two groups as the forces of evil continues its rampage. I thank the Lord it’s only for a short while, and as long as we hold on to Him no matter what comes, His protection, guidance and love is with us always. He is in control! We need to be more steadfast and diligent in doing His will.

    Again you make a valid point about Christians holding secular jobs. And just as the secular world has demanded God out of places, we should also demand our rights to be heard as well, while we still can. Yet, that’s the point isn’t it, we as Christians have been too passive, lax-a-daisy, taken our position for granted. And it took a clerk from Kentucky and ‘the baking a cake’ couple to voice what we should have been doing. Standing for our beliefs in areas that the voice has been silenced. Everyone has choices they make on a daily bases, why not include a prayer; with a prayer to Our Lord at the start of the day to when we retire once again, brings a quiet peace within that we are able to handle any situation, especially the difficult ones.

    The time has arrived (and will intensify) to make a decision who one stand with: either one believes in creation or not, either one believes Jesus is the SON of God or not, the Gospel is truth or not. God has our best interest at heart, he alone saves us from ourselves. The evil permeating our lives and environment is real we must shake it off with the power of prayer, the power of Jesus in us through His Holy Spirit. It all comes down to good vs evil and distinguishing the difference between the two opposites in a society that’s determine to leave God out of everything. The arrogance of individuals are incredible! Be weary of what you wish for if it’s not inline with the Father of the Universe.

    It’s amazing to me that the RELIGION of Islam is being practiced in public school (for diversity), BUT not the Gospel. Isn’t this hypocrisy..?.. If God is taken out because of ‘religion and state’ can’t mingle then why is Islam allowed.?.. Last I checked it too was a religion. Incredible the double standard.

    I stand with you in prayer for people to awaken to the challenges facing us and be firm in our Christian values. For Our Lord to give us the wisdom and guidance needed in these time of decisions. It’s only going to escalate as more Christians stand for the right to practice God’s word in secular society till the coming of Christ. We must show by example Our God is LOVE and justifies why certain things/behaviors are abhorred in His sight. Jesus came to reconcile the drift between man and God. Let’s follow His lead to be one with Him and the Father. He is truth and loving in a world where a dark cloud has descended. Maranatha! God bless.

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