Charisma Caucus

Where 2016 Candidates Stand on Kim Davis' Arrest

Kim Davis is a Democratic elected official in Rowan County, Kentucky. (Reuters)

Kim Davis, the Apostolic Christian clerk who refused to issue marriage licenses to homosexual couples, was ordered into jail yesterday for "contempt of court." The judge was a Republican appointee—David Bunning, a federal judge, was named to the bench by President George W. Bush and is the son of former U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning.

This begs the question: Where do would-be presidential candidates, especially Republicans, stand on this issue? 

The good news is most in the field support her religious freedom strongly. The bad news is that decision is far from unanimous.

Republican Supporters: Huckabee, Cruz, Santorum, Walker, Rubio, Trump, Bush

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Mike Huckabee so strongly supports Davis' right to religious freedom that he will hold a rally—dubbed #ImWithKim—next Tuesday in Kentucky to stand alongside her. 

"Having Kim Davis in federal custody removes all doubt of the criminalization of Christianity in our country," Huckabee said. "This is a reckless, appalling, out-of-control decision that undermines the Constitution of the United States and our fundamental right to religious liberty."

Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, also said, "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."

When Judge Bunning arrested Davis for violating another judicial fiat, he said, "judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny," Cruz said. 

The bottom line is: "Those who are persecuting Kim Davis believe that Christians should not serve in public office."

"This is wrong. This is not America," Cruz said.

He said those calling for Kim Davis to resign her job as a clerk because she refuses to issue marriage licenses to some couples is "defending a hypocritical standard," since they applauded President Obama defying the law on numerous issues, such as Obama's refusing to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in courts.  

"Where is the call for President Obama to resign for ignoring and defying our immigration laws, our welfare reform laws and even his own Obamacare?" he asked. When President Obama resigns, he said, "then we can talk about Kim Davis."

"I call upon every believer, every Constitutionalist, every lover of liberty to stand with Kim Davis," Cruz said. "Stop the persecution now."

Others agreed jail time was too harsh a punishment. 

"I hate to see her put in jail," Trump said, endorsing an accommodation that would allow someone else in the office to handle the paperwork. "The Supreme Court has ruled. That's the law of the land."

Sen. Marco Rubio also called for an accommodation.

Gov. Scott Walker told Laura Ingraham's talk show that he would seek a "balance" between the competing issues, but "the Constitution is very clear, that people have the freedom of religion. That means you have the freedom to practice your religious beliefs out there." 

Gov. Jeb Bush said at a campaign stop in New Hampshire that Davis "is sworn to uphold the law," but "there ought to be big enough space for her to act on her conscience and—now that the law is the law of the land—for a gay couple to be married."

Republican Opponents: Christie, Graham, Fiorina

Some Republicans have been opposed to Davis' religious freedom—none more than New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who threatened to prosecute clerks who did not issue gay "marriage" licenses

Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told radio host Hugh Hewitt that Davis must "comply with the law or resign. ... And that's her choice"—comments that won him praise from the far-Left Think Progress website.

Former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina said Davis would have to choose to issue the licenses or "sever her employment with the government and go seek employment elsewhere where her religious liberties would be paramount."

Democrats: Do You Have to Ask? 

Shortly after Davis' arrest, Hillary Clinton sent out a tweet announcing the arrest and saying, "Marriage equality is the law of the land. Officials should be held to their duty to uphold the law—end of story."

Her campaign chairman, John Podesta, made a similar statement, tweaking Marco Rubio for his stance: "SCOTUS says LGBT couples can marry. Officials should uphold the law. Period. What's next, Professor Rubio?"

For those who believe religious liberty in the United States is a top election issue, the choice is clear.

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