FRANKFORT, Ky. — Thousands rallied on Saturday in support of three Kentucky clerks who are fighting for their religious rights not to violate their Christian convictions by issuing “marriage” licenses to homosexuals.
The Family Foundation of Kentucky organized the event, which included prayers, hymns and speeches by various state leaders and political candidates. Executive Director Kent Ostrander told the Lexington Herald Leader that the purpose of the rally was to support the First Amendment rights of clerks in light of the U.S. Supreme Court ruling declaring that states must legalize same-sex nuptials.
Since the ruling, three clerks in Kentucky have declined to personally issue the licenses due to their Christian identity: Kim Davis of Rowan County, Kay Schwartz of Whitley County and Casey Davis of Casey County.
As previously reported, Davis was the subject of a federal suit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) on behalf of two homosexuals and their partners, and well as two opposite-sex couples, after she declined to issue any marriage licenses of any kind—homosexual or heterosexual—following the U.S. Supreme Court ruling.
But Davis also sued Gov. Steve Beshear, a Democrat, after he declared in a letter that all county clerks must issue licenses to homosexuals despite their Christianity—separating one’s beliefs from their free exercise of religion.
“Neither your oath nor the Supreme Court dictates what you must believe. But as elected officials, they do prescribe how we must act,” he wrote.
Earlier this month, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ruled in the ACLU case, making similar statements as Beshear—that Davis may have the free exercise of religion in her private life, but cannot live out her convictions while serving as clerk.
While on the job, Bunning limited Davis’ Christianity to head knowledge about homosexuality as opposed to a whole-life identity that excludes her from being a facilitator of other men’s sins. (1 Timothy 5:22)
“Davis remains free to practice her Apostolic Christian beliefs,” he wrote. “She may continue to attend church twice a week, participate in Bible study and minister to female inmates at the Rowan County jail. She is even free to believe that marriage is a union between one man and one woman, as many Americans do. However, her religious convictions cannot excuse her from performing the duties that she took an oath to perform as Rowan County clerk.”
Davis is currently appealing the ruling and refuses to issue licenses in the interim.
On Saturday, thousands applauded for the clerk as she approached the microphone to speak.
“God bless you ma’am!” one attendee called out from the crowd.
“I am totally overwhelmed by this show of support,” Davis told those gathered. “Let’s give praise to God almighty. He is my strength. He is my comfort. He gives me a peace in my soul that no one can take from me. He gives me a joy in my heart that can’t nobody have. I can give it away, but nobody can take that from me.”
The crowd began to cheer as she repeatedly declared, “He’s worthy!”
“I love each and every one of you,” Davis continued. “I need your prayers. We all need your prayers. Just continue to stand firm in what we believe. God is alive and He’s on the throne!”
Others who spoke included Senate President Robert Stivers, R-Manchester, and Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington.
“There are alternative ways to accommodate the religious conviction of Kim Davis and that is what we are asking the Court of Appeals to consider,” Mat Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, which is representing Davis in court, said in a statement on Monday. “Davis did not abandon her constitutional rights of conscience and free exercise of religion when she took office.”
“The laws of the United States and Kentucky she swore to uphold include the laws that protect those very rights of conscience for all individuals, including clerks,” he continued. “The U.S. and Kentucky Constitutions, and particularly Kentucky’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, require the accommodation of public officials’ sincerely held religious beliefs.”