Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee speaks to supporters during a rally for County Clerk Kim Davis in front of the Carter County Detention Center n Grayson, Kentucky, on Sept. 8, 2015.
Ty Wright—Getty Images
September 9, 2015 10:58 AM EDT

Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee said Wednesday that he would be forced to accept same-sex marriage if the federal government enacted a law allowing it.

The statement follows the former Arkansas governor’s ardent support for Kim Davis, the county clerk in Kentucky who was temporarily jailed for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

“If they want to come out from their cowardice to address this issue and they want to pass a law that says same-sex marriage is okay…then we all have to accept that same sex marriage is the law of the land,” he told Joe Scarborough on Morning Joe.

Huckabee’s acknowledgment came during a winding debate about the legality of same-sex marriage and whether federal law required Davis to issue marriage licenses. Huckabee argued that the Supreme Court’s interpretation of the Constitution was not sufficient to require Davis’ compliance.

Still, Huckabee included the caveat that he might not comply, even if he believed it were law.

“Maybe I would disobey,” he said. “Maybe I would pay the penalty for it.”

 

Write to Justin Worland at justin.worland@time.com.

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