Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis was released from a Kentucky jail on Tuesday after being held in contempt of court for refusing to issue wedding licenses to same-sex couples on religious grounds.
Davis, who had also ordered her deputy clerks not to issue licenses, was freed by Judge David Bunning on the condition that she not interfere with the efforts of her staff to issue marriage licenses to “all legally eligible couples.” Upon her release, she received a hero’s welcome from a large crowd and was praised by GOP presidential candidates Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz, both of whom said that religious freedom is under attack. Survivor’s “Eye of the Tiger” from the movie “Rocky III” was played during the rally.
Actor and LGBT activist George Takei commented in a Facebook post, “Well, this is a bit of a circus. So let us be clear: This woman is no hero to be celebrated. She broke her oath to uphold the Constitution and defied a court order so she could deny government services to couples who are legally entitled to be married.
“She is entitled to hold her religious beliefs, but not to impose those beliefs on others. If she had denied marriage certificates to an interracial couple, would people cheer her? Would presidential candidates flock to her side?
“In our society, we obey civil laws, not religious ones. To suggest otherwise is, simply put, entirely un-American.”
In response to the argument that Davis’ First Amendment rights are being violated, Takei said, “The First Amendment has two clauses that are relevant here. One is the Establishment Clause, and the other is the Prohibition Clause. Congress may not prohibit free worship, and that is what so many claim, wrongly, is being violated. But it is also not empowered to establish any religion, nor to enact any laws favoring one religion over the other.
“Permitting a state employee to foist her religion upon others, denying them a fundamental right as articulated by the U.S. Supreme Court in Obergefell, would be to give government, through this agent, the power to impose religious doctrine and viewpoint. That it cannot do.
“Ms. Davis is in effect establishing religion by using her governmental powers to impose her religious views.”