Kim Davis still doesn’t see what the big deal is.
The Rowan County, Ky., clerk — who was jailed for five days for refusing marriage licenses to same-sex couples — addressed the controversy during a Tuesday candidate forum in Morehead, Ky. Amid a reelection campaign that has garnered national attention, Davis asserted she “did not treat anybody unfairly.”
“I treated everybody equally because I quit issuing marriage licenses altogether,” she claimed, as the Associated Press first reported. “I took an oath to stand up and uphold our Kentucky constitution and federal constitution, that’s exactly what I did.”
In September 2015, Davis was held on contempt of court for refusing Judge David L. Bunning’s orders to comply with the Supreme Court’s Obergefell v. Hodges ruling on marriage equality. Before the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, the 53-year-old cited the First Amendment right to her religious beliefs.
“It wasn’t just a spur-of-the-moment decision,” she claimed. “It was thought out, and I sought God on it.”
Her brief stay at the Carter County Detention Center made Davis into a celebrity among the religious right. After her release, she appeared at rallies alongside 2016 presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), both ardent supporters of so-called “religious liberty.”
Cruz called her detention “judicial lawlessness,” “tyranny,” and an “outrage.”
Davis, who is currently facing off in a reelection race against Democrat Elwood Caudill, Jr., appeared to suggest she would do it all over again if she could.
“I have had many people ask me, ‘Why didn’t you do your job? Why didn’t you do your job? Why didn’t you just quit?’” she told the crowd. “Well, if you will read our Kentucky state statutes, they still say that marriage is between one man and one woman. That’s what we voted in. Our Constitution has not changed.”
The audience gathered at the candidates forum reportedly burst into rapturous applause.
But fortunately for same-sex couples, Davis will no longer have the ability to deny them their federally mandated rights — even if she wins in November. For the past three years, other county clerks in Rowan County have been issuing marriage certificates in her stead.
Ultimately, the state of Kentucky was forced to pay $225,000 in court costs after six couples sued her for denying to certify their marriage certificates.
One of those plaintiffs, David Ermold, decided to challenge Davis for the position of county clerk but lost to Caudill in the primary race. Curiously, Ermold would endorse Davis following his defeat — accusing his opponent’s campaign of homophobia.
Caudill has denied the allegations.
While vowing to “uphold the law of the land,” the Democratic nominee sent a mixed message in regards to his support for the LGBTQ community during yesterday’s forum. He referred to the SCOTUS ruling on same-sex marriage as “not [his] choice.”
“I didn’t vote [marriage equality] in, but I have to go by the law,” Caudill claimed. “You have to issue what the law tells you to do.”
Image via Getty