The mystery of who invited Kim Davis to President Obama's final State of the Union address ended with a phone call to the office of a Republican congressman — by the stunned congressman himself.
After first telling The Huffington Post, "I didn't invite anyone," Rep. Jim Jordan learned his office had given the hottest tickets in Washington to Davis with the blessing of the Family Research Council — classified as an anti-LGBT hate group by the progressive Southern Poverty Law Center.
The hubub started when the group told a conservative publication, the Washington Examiner, Monday that the organization had reserved tickets for Davis and her top attorney, Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel, but did not reveal through whom.
Without revealing how they found out, HuffPost congressional reporter Matt Fuller and contributor Jennifer Bendery reported Tuesday that they surprised Rep. Jordan with the news late this afternoon.
Jordan checked with his office, and in a turnaround strikingly similar to the last Kim Davis surprise — when the Vatican denied, then confirmed, then disputed the details of her visit with Pope Francis last September — and then called back the website.
"Yeah, so we gave a ticket to — at the request of the Family Research Council — we gave the ticket to Kim Davis's family," the Ohio congressman told the HuffPost.
The website reported Jordan said he was "fine" giving two tickets to Davis and also said he wasn't intentionally being secretive.
"I found out today," Jordan told the website. "And I'm being totally honest with you: That's — Family Research Council asked us, her family wanted a ticket, and we said 'OK.'"
Davis famously shut down marriage license operations in Rowan County, Ky., rather than issue licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court ruling, which she said violated her Christian beliefs; it was a “heaven or hell” issue for her, she said at one point. After several couples sued, she went to jail for five days in September for violating a federal judge’s order that she issue marriage licenses to all couples without discrimination.
Since then, a deputy in her office has been serving same-sex couples, and she has removed her name from marriage licenses. The new governor of Kentucky, Matt Bevin, has now issued an executive order removing all clerks’ names from licenses.
The Examiner called Davis’s attendance part of an effort to counter “President Obama’s effort to stack the audience with those who support his causes.” Jim Obergefell, a plaintiff in the marriage equality case decided by the Supreme Court last year, is attending at the invitation of the president.
Davis was also singled out by Family Research Council president Tony Perkins in his State of the Family address, which she attended Monday night in Washington, the Examiner reports. “Kim stood up courageously against the power of the state and the [American Civil Liberties Union] and she, along with religious liberty in Kentucky, prevailed!” Perkins said, according to an advance copy of his speech provided to the publication.
Here's Davis spotted at the State of the Union address on Tuesday: