Defiant Kentucky Clerk Kim Davis Was Just Released from Jail

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Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue any marriage licenses because of her objection to gay marriage, was met on Thursday afternoon by a large, raucous crowd of supporters after spending over five days in jail. In front of news cameras, a visibly emotional Davis left most of the talking her lawyer, and to Republican presidential hopeful Mike Huckabee, who declared Davis “an incredibly brave lady.”

US District Judge David Bunning, who held Davis in contempt last Thursday, ordered her release this morning after receiving a report that the Rowan County clerk’s office is now complying with the court’s ruling. But the judge threatened additional sanctions if Davis impedes the process, and has called for status reports to be filed every two weeks. From The New York Times:

In a two-page order issued Tuesday, the judge who sent her to jail, David L. Bunning of the Federal District Court, said he would release Ms. Davis because he was satisfied that her office was “fulfilling its obligation to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”

Judge Bunning ordered that Ms. Davis “shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.” He he said that any such action would be regarded as “a violation” of his released order.

Still, the storm is far from over. Davis, an Apostolic Christian who cited “God’s authority” in her refusal to adhere to the Supreme Court’s landmark ruling ending bans on gay marriage, has gained national notoriety, provoking rallies from both sides of the issue. Heralded as a hero by Christian conservatives, she was joined by Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee who spoke at the rally for her release, which he helped organize.

Watch Huckabee’s full post-release comments below, including his declaration that, “If somebody needs to go to jail, I’m willing to go in her place.”

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You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

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