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Friday, October 21, 2016

By Emily Stephenson

WASHINGTON (Reuters) — A county clerk in Kentucky who was briefly jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples said on Friday that she and her family have switched to the Republican Party because the Democrats no longer represented them.

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, 50, who has said her beliefs as an Apostolic Christian prevent her from issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, said they had changed parties last week. She was a longtime Democrat in eastern Kentucky.

“My husband and I had talked about it for quite a while and we came to the conclusion that the Democratic Party left us a long time ago, so why were we hanging on?” she told Reuters in an interview at a hotel in Washington, where she has traveled to be feted at a Family Research Council event later on Friday.

Davis also said she did not foresee a problem with the current marriage licenses being issued by her office in Morehead, Kentucky. Critics have charged the altered licenses, which removed her name and title and the name of the county, violate an order issued by U.S. District Judge David Bunning and raise questions about their validity.

“I don’t think there should be much of an issue and the judge didn’t have any problem accepting the licenses that were issued when I was incarcerated, which had been altered, so I don’t see that there should be an issue,” she said.

Davis added, however, that if the new licenses became an issue for Bunning, she was prepared to return to jail.

Davis was jailed for five days in September for refusing to comply with Bunning’s order to issue licenses in line with a Supreme Court ruling in June that made gay marriage legal across the United States.

The stance has made Davis and the issuance of marriage licenses to same-sex couples in Kentucky and other states the latest focus in a long-running debate over gay marriage in the United States.

She has won support from some conservative Republicans, who say the issue is about religious freedom. Republican presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz were among some 4,000 supporters who attended a rally with Davis after her release.

Davis, who returned to work on Sept. 14, has been under the threat of returning to jail if she interferes in the issuance of licenses.

The couples have asked Bunning to consider ordering a limited receivership for the clerk’s office and fines to ensure that it issues valid marriage licenses.

Attorneys for Davis have said the changes made to the form were a good-faith effort to follow her religious beliefs and to meet the court’s order.

After the Supreme Court decision, Davis announced an office policy that no marriage licenses would be issued to any couples. Lawyers representing two same-sex couples and two opposite-sex couples challenged her policy.

Bunning ordered Davis jailed for contempt on Sept. 3 for refusing to comply with his order to issue licenses. He ordered her released five days later when deputy clerks were issuing licenses.

Davis has asked Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear, a Democrat, state lawmakers and Bunning to accommodate her beliefs. She has also appealed Bunning’s orders to the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals.

(Reporting by Emily Stephenson in Washington; Writing by Ben Klayman; Editing by James Dalgleish)

Photo: Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis speaks during an interview on Fox News Channel’s ‘The Kelly File’ in New York in this September 23, 2015, file photo. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid/Files

  • bestofandy

    I guess she is “going home” to the republican party. Why did they not leave her in jail !!!!!

  • dtgraham

    “The Democratic party left us a long time ago” says Kim Davis. If her ex-party isn’t successful in keeping the White House and Senate next year, her health care and possibly Social Security may be leaving her in the future too.

    • Looner

      I certainly hope social security won’t be leaving.

      • dtgraham

        There’s no reason for it to, but in the long run that’s up to the voters. The problem there is that many of those Republican voters have absolutely no idea what they’re voting for.

      • Dominick Vila

        I share your wishes, but if the Republican party manages to win the White House in 2016, is in full control of Congress, and replaces a couple of departing Supreme Court Justices with more Alitos and Scalias, we are likely to see more than just Social Security relegated to the annals of history. The GOP has not hidden their determination to privatize Social Security and MEDICARE, dismantle MEDICAID, repeal the ACA, get rid of Affirmative Action, deport Hispanics-Latinos, including those born in the USA, and stop all attempt to achieve economic and social equality. In fact, they are proud to make those objectives the centerpiece of their agenda.

  • Independent1

    Jesus never said a word about gay relationships; but He did make it clear that God would only recognize one marriage in a person’s lifetime. Sexual relations after marriage with any other person is adultery; Kim is therefore a 3-time adulteress. Not only that, but in the process she’s had two children outside of wedlock. I guess she feels she can just write all those clear sins off and they’ll be forgotten and somehow not having her name on the marriage license of a same-sex couple is going to make everything all right for her with God. It’s certainly not my place to judge but her actions sound a lot like clear cut hypocrisy to me, as it does to many others.

  • Budjob

    Just who in the HELL cares?? Maybe,if she hanged herself,it would have been news!!

  • Arthur

    These kinds of people are what’s wrong with the American political system. They look at Democrat and Republican like two opposing teams in a football game. When they go to vote, and they only do during presidential races, they just vote entirely Democratic or entirely Republican because that’s the name of their favorite team.

  • The lucky one

    Capitalize while you can Ms. Davis your 15 minutes of fame is about over.

  • Eleanore Whitaker

    Kim Davis is about as famous as Joe the Plumber. So..where is HE now? Hiding his baldness by shaving his head? Pumping his fists because he couldn’t overturn the GOP’s schemes and plans of mass government takeover? How do idiots like this woman miss what the rest of the educated world can see?

    • Jane

      One thing for sure Joe the Plumber is not yet a plumber, a small business owner, or a dude named Joe.

  • midway54

    Just another Fox “News” model of listener who is just as crazed and clueless as Shrieking Sarah Palin so admired by too many ignorant voters in the Red(neck) States.

  • Bren Frowick

    She’s a contemptible bigot who SHOULD be removed, either by the voters or the legislature, for her refusal to uphold the laws she swore to serve. If she is not, it will reflect poorly on the society of her county, and may well require more intervention by the courts charged with enforcing the law of the land.

  • rednekokie

    Congrats on her becoming a republican. That party far better realizes her demonstration of the golden rule — at least the version she practices.
    I sincerely hope she stays there — I don’t know any Democrat who would want her back.

  • obandon

    Kim and her mike huckabee can talk religious persecution all they want. Smart People who are truly Christian know her version of Gods law is opposite of his real law. Of loving all Gods Children. She broke the law and was put in jail just as anyone else would have been. That is the only issue. Religion is only a side show here, a way for the Republican Base to create another Circus side show. Why should the rules be changed just for her and only her? Taxes pay her $83k salary, she needs to go back to work or resign. She has brough a lot of very negative publicity to her community and state. She has every right to believe in whatever version she has of her God, but when you are hired to do a job you do it. Your paycheck is not a microphone for religious bigotry. #ImpeachKimDavis

  • yabbed

    We Democrats are happy to be relieved of the stain of Kim Davis.

    • Carolyn1520

      It’s just part of the show anyway. Part of the pretense of having been “washed of her sins” she cannot be a Democrat. How transparent is that connection. LOL

  • Carolyn1520

    Once she decided to embrace the beliefs of the American Taliban, her choice was made for her. The Democratic party didn’t leave her. She’s only 50 years old. The party stopped embracing backward ideas long before that.

    • johninPCFL

      In about 1968 if I recall correctly. Once LBJ embraced the civil rights laws, the exodus of the bigots began. They briefly hung on to vote for Wallace, but now they’ve successfully transitioned to the GOP.

      • Irishgrammy

        I continue to find it so predictable when something like this happens… obvious bigot, racist, xenophobic hater of what ever or any kind, ultimately ends up supporting or joining the Republican brand, and yet the GOP “leadership” insists “they have a big tent and all are welcome”……Hells Bells I’m just a woman and even I don’t feel welcome under that bigoted tent, nor would I want to embarrass myself by associating myself with that detestable group of miserable, unhappy, backward and angry hateful idiots.

  • ps0rjl

    I tired of hearing about this narrow minded bigot who hides under a “religious persecution” lie. Put her in jail and remove her from office.

  • Elliot J. Stamler

    Good riddance to this evil, ugly, lawless, bigoted, fanatical ignoramus…every Democrat in this country is delighted she and her dog patch-Pappy Yokum hick husband are leaving our party and going into the party of muck and extremism where she belongs. She will likely show up at their national convention next year…like that other turncoat, Joe (I love Sarah Palin, don’t you?) Lieberman did 7 years ago.

  • P`tar

    Who cares what political party she supports. Do your damned job!

  • Looner

    Thank god she is now in the party that supports her attention seeking ways. Now go away and do your job Davis! We don’t care who or what you worship, which should be the same for you.

  • Dominick Vila

    A logical move for a neanderthal.

  • Bye Felicia.
    But seriously, if she had a problem with gay people, why is she working in the government? Gay peoples’ taxes pay her salary.

  • Jane

    Well that’s a plus for the Democratic Party.

  • 67596759

    Hypocrasy reins !!! If a Muslim school cafeteria worker refused to dish up those pork patties because of her religious beliefs, do you think miss religious freedom would go to jail for HER…. Would the Republican dweebs fall all over themselves to hold HER hand and champion the cause of muslim religious freedom…? KIM DAVIS, shut up and do your freakin’ job…LUCKY to have one at this point…fire her whiny ass…oops, sorry overshare !!