The controversy surrounding Rowan County, Ky., clerk Kim Davis for her religious objections to same-sex marriage was the big story on the campaign trail Thursday, especially after news broke early in the day that she was thrown in jail.
While some candidates tried to dodge the issue, here are the candidates who decided to stand with Davis:
Early in the morning, Mike Huckabee appeared on MSNBC’s Morning Joe and gave an extremely well thought out, constitutionally-based response to the whole saga. After news broke that Davis had been thrown in jail, Huckabee took to Twitter announcing the “criminalization of Christianity” and calling out the hypocrisy of the Left on this story as it relates to illegal immigration and Hillary Clinton:
Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubts about the criminalization of Christianity in this country. We must defend #ReligiousLiberty!
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 3, 2015
— Gov. Mike Huckabee (@GovMikeHuckabee) September 4, 2015
Ted Cruz took to Fox News to say he stands with Kim Davis and to slam the Supreme Court’s gay marriage ruling and the hypocrisy of the Left on the lawlessness of sanctuary cities like San Francisco:
MEGYN KELLY: Your reaction to this, because some of the Republican candidates like Carly Fiorina came out today and said that, ‘you’re gonna work for the government, you’re gonna do the government’s will,’ and she said that ‘this is not appropriate by Ms. Davis’.
TED CRUZ: Well, what happened today is an outrage. It is fundamentally wrong. For the first time we’re seeing a Christian woman thrown in jail for standing up for her faith. I’ll tell you, I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with her and anyone else that the government is trying to persecute for standing up for their faith. This is fundamentally wrong, and it’s inconsistent with the First Amendment of the Constitution. We are a nation that was formed by people fleeing religious oppression and come to a land where we could worship freely without the government getting in the way, and it is stunning what is happening here.
KELLY: So the other side says that she should exercise her faith, but that she shouldn’t be in this role; her job is to issue marriage licenses, so it’s an impossibility — you can’t just not issue them now that they’re legal.
CRUZ: Well, but that’s fundamentally wrong. The consequence of that statement, that standard, is that Christians can’t hold public office, or if they do, they must be willing to violate their faith, or go to jail. That is not America. That is not how this country works.
And let me point out to all the politicians, both Democrats and Republicans, who are tut-tutting that if Ms. Davis doesn’t want to follow this lawless judicial decree from the Supreme Court, that she should resign her office — well, where have those voices been calling for the mayor of San Francisco to resign, who has declared San Francisco a sanctuary city, defying immigration laws. American citizens have been murdered by violent criminal illegal aliens because of the mayor’s violation of the law. Where are those voices calling for President Obama to resign for six and a half years? He has defied the law — immigration law, he has defied welfare reform laws. He even defied his own Obamacare. When the mayor of San Francisco and President Obama resign, then we can talk about Kim Davis.
KELLY: Well, it’s been interesting because the White House came out today and said, ‘No public official is above the law.” And yet, there’s people online saying, well, what about the attorney general of California, who has allowed the sanctuary city of San Francisco to stand unchallenged, and so on, and yet — let me ask you about this. One of the most persuasive points I think her detractors have — [against] the Kentucky clerk – is that she was apparently offered, according to the New York Times, the chance to just have her deputies do it. She wouldn’t have to do it. Now, it would have to be under her authority, she’d have to allow them. And the deputies were prepared to do it, to issue the licenses, and she said no to that. So what are they supposed to do? What are same-sex couples supposed to do if you’ve got the head clerk saying, ‘No one can do it because of my religious beliefs’?
CRUZ: But Megyn, that’s not right under Kentucky law. Number one, her name would be on it regardless, and she’s saying it’s inconsistent with her faith to put her name to it, to being part of it. Now I would point out that under Kentucky law, individuals can go in any other county and get married, but beyond that – listen, this decision from the Supreme Court on marriage was fundamentally illegitimate. Chief Justice Roberts observed in dissent, quite powerfully, this is not connected to the Constitution. This is not from the Constitution. And Justice Scalia — and I’ll recommend for every one of your viewers to read Justice Scalia’s powerful dissent, where he predicted, this marriage decision was so lawless, was so much judicial activism, that state and local officials could be expected to defy it. That’s what Justice Scalia said. Now all the commentators are saying they’re shocked that she’s doing exactly what Justice Scalia said. It’s not the job, as Justice Scalia said, of five unelected lawyers to be the rulers of 320 million Americans, and to claim illegitimately the authority to strike down the marriage laws of all 50 states. That is lawless.
Cruz also issued a statement calling “every believer, every constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis.”
In a town hall in Iowa, Bobby Jindal said, “I think it’s time to end discrimination against Christians. We’re not a society where we’re supposed to take God out of the public square. … I don’t think this clerk or any person should have to chose between obeying their conscience and being able to keep their job.”
Rand Paul was on TV four times today discussing this issue. He called Davis’s jailing “absurd” and “crazy”, and warned the Left that arresting people is not the best way to convince them to agree to redefine marriage. Here he is on CBS, CNN, Fox News’s America’s Newsroom, and Fox News’s Hannity.
Rick Santorum issued a statement saying he had “great respect” for Davis’s courage, and endorsed the First Amendment Defense Act to protect people of faith against what he predicted would be more of these cases against people of faith.
Jeb Bush made a couple statements on Thursday that appeared to be compassionate towards Davis, though he tried to find common ground as well:
She is sworn to uphold the law, and it seems to me that there ought to be common ground, there ought to be big enough space for her to act on her conscience and — now that the law is the law of the land — for a gay couple to be married in whatever jurisdiction that is.
Thomas Valentine is a researcher for APIA and a junior at the Franciscan University of Steubenville.