Kim Davis, the Kentucky clerk who refused to issue gay marriage licenses due to her religious beliefs, has been set free. She was thrown in jail on Thursday on contempt of court charges.
US District Judge David Bunning ordered the release of county clerk Kim Davis on Tuesday, warning her not to interfere as her deputies issued marriage licenses to same-sex couples in her absence.
"She's a free woman," said Carter County Jailer R.W. Boggs, referring to the born-again Christian. Hundreds of supporters sang "Amazing Grace" and "God Bless America" as Davis stepped out of the prison.
Many supporters who had gathered outside the jail since Tuesday morning said they couldn't believe the news. They chanted "Let Kim go!" and handed out white crosses. Her husband also visited her early in the afternoon.
Davis' release was followed by visits from Republican presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Mike Huckabee, who tweeted his support.
Davis was sent to jail last Thursday for refusing to follow a US Supreme Court ruling in June that legalized gay marriages. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, cited "God's authority" for her unwillingness to execute the court's order.
Two heterosexual and two gay couples sued Davis, after which Judge Bunnings ordered her to issue the license. The clerk still refused, prompting Bunnings to throw Davis in jail and extract pledges from her deputies to issue licenses.
Davis' lawyers went to court a day before her release, asking judges if she could remove her name from Rowan County marriage certificates so that she would not be acting against her own conscience.
mg/cmk (AP, Reuters)