MOREHEAD, Ky. — An armed group of current former military and police officials offered protection from further arrest to Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis from earlier this week, but was declined by her legal counsel.
Oath Keepers, whose motto is “Not On Our Watch,” is a coalition founded to provide education about, and defense of, the U.S. Constitution. The group issued a statement on Wednesday, outlining that it had offered protection for the now-freed clerk when she returns to her job on Monday.
“[W]e are doing this not because of her views on gay marriage, but because she is an elected public servant who has been illegally arrested and held without due process,” Oath Keepers said.
“No one man should have that kind of power in his hands alone to decide guilt and impose a sentence of indefinite detention,” it continued. “Under our Constitution, that dictatorial power does not exist. We must stand against this. And so we will protect her and prevent it from happening again.”
As previously reported, on September 3rd, U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered that Kim Davis be placed behind bars until she complies with his order to issue marriage licenses to homosexuals despite her religious identity.
She was released from the Carter County Jail on Tuesday after her attorneys filed an appeal of the contempt order, and also because Bunning was satisfied that her deputy clerks were providing the licenses instead.
Following her release, Oath Keepers offered to provide protection and prevent her from being taken into custody by U.S. marshals a second time should the situation occur. However, Davis’ attorneys declined the offer.
“Oath Keepers has been contacted by Kim Davis’ legal team at Liberty Counsel, and they have, on her behalf, declined our offer of assistance in protecting her from a possible repeat incarceration by Federal District Court judge David Bunning,” the group wrote in an update on Friday.
“We will, of course, respect her wishes, and are hereby issuing a stand-down for our security volunteers who were planning on deploying to Morehead, Kentucky on Monday,” it said.
Liberty Counsel also told reporters that they were not interested in the offer.
“Neither Kim Davis nor Liberty Counsel heard of Oath Keepers before erroneous reports of their involvement in our case,” spokesperson Charla Bansley told Al-Jazeera. “Likewise, neither Kim Davis nor Liberty Counsel supports or condones any form of armed resistance, violence or force.”
Oath Keepers stated that they support Davis’ actions regardless of her position on same-sex nuptials.
“[C]ivil disobedience where the person is willing to allow themselves to be unlawfully arrested and are willing to go to jail to make a point, is a time honored, respectable, and honorable American tradition going back to Henry David Thoreau,” it said.