The decision by a federal judge to put Kim Davis in the custody of U.S. Marshals for repeatedly violating the law and refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples has solidified the Kentucky clerk’s status as a Religious Right martyr. Following the court’s ruling, conservative leaders and commentators immediately defended Davis.
Mike Huckabee, who has called Davis to offer his support, repeated his talking point about the “criminalization of Christianity” and announced plans to travel to Kentucky to support her legal battle.
Huckabee started a petition demanding President Obama “free Kim Davis”:
Dear President Obama, Attorney General Lynch, & Judge Bunning:
Immediately release Kim Davis from federal custody. Exercising Religious Liberty should never be a crime in America. This is a direct attack on our God-given, constitutional rights.
He also warned on Facebook that others, including pastors and caterers, may soon join her in jail:
Fellow presidential candidate and Davis defender Rand Paul told CNN that “it’s absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberties,” wondering why federal courts are involved in the matter in the first place.
Ted Cruz released his own statement decrying the supposed “persecution” of Davis by the Obama administration, which had nothing to do with the case:
“Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny. 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.
“I stand with Kim Davis. Unequivocally. I stand with every American that the Obama Administration is trying to force to chose between honoring his or her faith or complying with a lawless court opinion.
“I call upon every Believer, every Constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis. Stop the persecution now.”
Liberty Counsel, the virulently anti-LGBT organization representing Davis, said that she is not going to jail for contempt but just for being a Christian:
“Kim Davis might be jailed for her conscience, but her conscience is free,” Liberty Counsel head Mat Staver told Glenn Beck’s The Blaze. “He’s just putting her behind bars and treating her as a criminal.”
Liberty Counsel radio host Matt Barber said that Davis will now have to “bow a knee before ‘LGBT’ gods” or burn to death, likening her to Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego.
RedState founder Erick Erickson mentioned civil war:
Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council said in a statement that the judge has imposed an unconstitutional religious test for public office: “If this is not resolved in a manner that accommodates the orthodox religious beliefs of Clerk Davis, this will, in effect, establish a reverse religious test barring those who hold biblical views of marriage from positions of public service. Such a religious test by proclamation or practice is wrong.”
After conducting a fawning interview with Davis, Fox News pundit Todd Starnes continued to defend her, warning that “these are very dangerous days for America”: