As hundreds gathered outside the Carter County Detention Center yesterday for a rally in protest of Kim Davis’ imprisonment, their requests were answered sooner than expected.
The “ImWithKim Liberty Rally,” scheduled by Gov. Mike Huckabee to follow his visit with Davis, had already attracted a huge crowd when they received news of the order for her release.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning, the same judge who initially jailed Davis on charges of contempt of court, said that since the clerk’s office is now issuing marriage licenses through the deputy clerks, the court is “satisfied” so long as Davis does not “interfere in any way” with the dispensation of these licenses.
When Davis emerged from the detention center where she had been held for six days, however, her attorney made it clear that she is not satisfied.
While she is currently refraining from making any statements, her attorney, Roger Gannam from Liberty Counsel, told the crowd that Davis plans to return to work this week—while remaining loyal to God and her conscience. Yet although this case is now legally “dead” since the requests of the plaintiffs have been satisfied, it may not stay that way. Davis still considers it a violation of her conscience to allow her name to remain on the licenses.
Regardless of where the legal battle goes from here, the situation has revealed a significant difference in both opinion and conviction between GOP candidates when it comes to the question of religious liberty.
Huckabee, who literally stood “with Kim” as she walked out of the jail, told reporters that she has ignited something across this country.
“She’s shown more courage than most any politician I know and most any pastor that I know,” he said, then expressed his appreciation for those who had come to the prison “because they wanted her to be free.”
While Huckabee’s GOP rival Chris Christie dismissed the rally as “grandstanding” and “playing politics” on a serious issue, Huckabee’s strong support of Davis is sure to garner the attention of many Christian evangelicals and other conservatives who identify with Huckabee’s alarm over the “criminalization of Christianity” marked by Davis’ imprisonment.
Anna Pfaff works for American Principles in Action.