Republicans Use Kim Davis to Score Points for President

Republicans Use Kim Davis to Score Points for President

The Republican contenders for president are lining up behind Kim Davis and the Kentucky clerk's insistence that it's perfectly legal to refuse marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny," said U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas in a statement on his website. "Today, for the first time ever, the government arrested a Christian woman for living according to her faith. This is wrong. This is not America."

During an interview on Morning Joe, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee also complained of "judicial tyranny" and said the Supreme Court's ruling on marriage is only "the interpretation of five unelected lawyers on the court."

"I want people to stand up," he said, when asked by host Mika Brzezinski whether he was calling on other clerks to follow Davis to jail. Huckabee is now sharing a petition calling for Davis's release on social media.

Meanwhile, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky called it "absurd" that Davis is now in jail for contempt after disobeying a federal judge and losing an appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court.

"I think it’s absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties," he said on CNN.

Paul has suggested states shouldn't issuing marriage licenses at all. In some ways, that's the approach Davis took after the Supreme Court ruled for nationwide marriage equality in June. She just stopped issuing all marriage licenses, to both straight and gay couples.

“I think one way to get around the whole idea of what the Supreme Court is forcing on the states is for states just to get out of the business of giving out licenses,” Paul had told Boston Herald radio. “Anybody can make a contract. And then if you want a marriage contract you go to a church.”

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said it's actually Davis who is being discriminated against by the government. "I think you should be able to keep your job and follow your conscience," he told The Huffington Post.

Marco Rubio has often tried to find some seeming middle ground, and on this he told The New York Times Wednesday that "we should seek a balance."

“While the clerk’s office has a governmental duty to carry out the law,” the senator from Florida said, “there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office.”

U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina seems to have separated himself from the pack, saying that as a public official, Davis must follow the law even if she disagrees with it.

"I appreciate her conviction," he told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt this week. "I support traditional marriage, but she’s accepted a job in which she has to apply the law to everyone.”

The leader in polls, Donald Trump, was asked about Davis during a news conference today — during which he pledged to support the GOP nominee and not run an independent campaign — but the front-runner said he didn't know enough about what had happened to comment. The reporter seemed to inform Trump that Davis had been put in jail, but he moved on to another question.

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