Republican presidential candidates’ views on Kim Davis


A Carter County Detention Center image shows Kim Davis on Thursday, Sept. 3, 2015. The Rowan County, Ky., clerk went to jail Thursday for refusing to issue marriage licenses, but five of her deputies agreed to comply with the law, ending a two-month standoff. (Carter County Detention Center/TNS)

Here is what 2016 Republican presidential candidates have had to say about the controversy surrounding Rowan County, Kentucky clerk Kim Davis.

Davis was released from jail Tuesday after spending five days behind bars for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. She opposes same-sex marriage.

“I think it’s absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberty. If you want to convince people that same-sex marriage is something that’s acceptable, I would say try to persuade people,” said Sen. Rand Paul on CNN.

“I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama administration is trying to force to choose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion. Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office,” Sen. Ted Cruz said in a written statement, Sept. 3.

“Now I respect the fact that the lady doesn’t agree, but she’s also a government employee. She’s not running a church. I wouldn’t force this on a church, but in terms of her responsibility, I think she has to comply,” Ohio Gov. John Kasich said on ABC’s “This Week,” Sept. 6.

“You have to go with it. The decision’s been made, and that is the law of the land. I would say the simple answer is let her clerks do it. Now from what I understand she’s not letting the clerks do it, either,” Donald Trump said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” Sept. 4.

“While the clerk’s office has a governmental duty to carry out the law, there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in that office,” Sen. Marco Rubio said in a statement to The New York Times, Sept. 2.

“She is sworn to uphold the law. It seems to me that there ought to be common ground, there ought to be a big enough space for her to act on her conscience, and for now that the law is the law of the land, for a gay couple to be married in whatever jurisdiction that is. I’m a little confused about why that can’t be done,” Former Gov. Jeb Bush said to supporters in a town hall in New Hampshire, Sept. 3.

“This is a reckless, appalling, out-of-control decision that undermines the Constitution of the United States and our fundamental right to religious liberty. Having Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country. We must defend religious liberty and never surrender to judicial tyranny. What a world, where Hillary Clinton isn’t in jail but Kim Davis is,” Former Gov. Mike Huckabee said in a press release, Sept. 3.

“I don’t think anyone should have to choose between following their conscience and religious beliefs and giving up their job and facing financial sanctions. I think it’s wrong to force Christian individuals or business owners. I think you should be able to keep your job and follow your conscience,” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal said to the Huffington Post, Sept. 2.

“It’s a balance that you’ve got to have in America between the laws that are out there, but ultimately ensuring the Constitution is upheld. I read that the Constitution is very clear, that people have the freedom of religion. That means you have the freedom to practice religious beliefs out there,” Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker said speaking to radio host Laura Ingraham, Sept 3.

“What I would do with this woman is to move her to another job where this is not an objection for her, because you have to follow the law, and the law is these licenses have to be issued,” New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said on Fox News “Fox and Friends,” Sept. 8.

“As a public official, comply with the law or resign. We are a rule-of-law nation, and I appreciate her conviction. I support traditional marriage, but she’s accepted a job where she has to apply the law to everyone. And that’s her choice,” Sen. Lindsay Graham said on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” Sept. 1.

“I think in this particular case, this woman now needs to make a decision that’s (about) conscience: Is she prepared to continue to work for the government, be paid for by the government, in which case she needs to execute the government’s will, or does she feel so strongly about this that she wants to sever her employment with the government and go seek employment elsewhere where her religious liberties would be paramount over her duties as a government employee?” Carly Fiorina said on “The Hugh Hewitt Show,” Sept. 1.

“I would agree that what Kim Davis did in my opinion was heroic and she suffered the consequences for it. I think putting her in jail was ridiculous and an extreme position,” Former Sen. Rick Santorum said on CNN’s “New Day,” Sept. 4.

“Whether it’s ending sanctuary cities or issuing marriage licenses for same-sex couples, we are a nation of laws. #KentuckyClerk#KimDavis” Former Gov. George Pataki wrote on Twitter, Sept. 3.