Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to grant a gay couple a marriage license due to her religious beliefs against homosexuality, was released from jail on Tuesday among a throng of cheering supporters.
“Thank you all so much,” she said, in tears. “I love you all so very much. I just want to give God his glory. His people have rallied and you are a strong people. We serve a living God who knows exactly where each and every one of us is at. Keep pressing. Don’t let down.”
Earlier on Tuesday, A U.S. District judge ordered that Davis be released from jail and that her contempt order be lifted—as long as she did not stop her deputies from issuing licenses to same-sex couples.
Davis’s speech was preceded by a rally interrupted by frequent cries of “Amen” and chants for “Praise Jesus.” She was introduced by Republican presidential candidate and former governor of Arkansas Mike Huckabee along with comments from her attorney, Mat Staver. Huckabee and Staver spoke to reporters before Davis’s remarks, embracing her.
“We don’t gather here because we hate anybody,” Huckabee said immediately prior to Davis’s arrival on stage. “We gather here today because we love God and this country. And we do not want to see this country become the smoldering remains of a great republic.” Huckabee followed with an offer to go to jail himself to protect what he views as the right of elected officials to follow their religious convictions.
Huckabee and Staver frequently invoked the fact that the Supreme Court was composed of unelected officials; speakers that took the stage before Davis’s much-anticipated speech repeatedly brought up the civil rights movement, with a pastor reciting lines from sermons of Martin Luther King, Jr.
The Rowan County clerk was sent to jail last week for refusing to grant marriage licenses—and ordering her deputies to also not issue licenses—to same-sex couples on religious grounds since the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage in June.
Her lawyers asked for an injunction from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals directing Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear to remove her name from the marriage licenses the county issues. Tuesday was her sixth day in jail.