Grayson, Ky. (Reuters) - Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses, walked out of jail on Tuesday after the U.S. district court judge who found her in contempt said he was satisfied licenses were being issued in accordance with a U.S. Supreme Court decision.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning ordered her release after six days in jail, saying she “shall not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”
If she tries to interfere, “that will be considered a violation of this Order and appropriate sanctions will be considered,” Bunning said.
Davis was greeted by over one thousand singing and shouting supporters. “I just want to give God his glory,” an emotional Davis said in brief remarks to supporters after being released from jail.
“She will do her job good and she will serve the people as they want her to serve. She will also be loyal to God and she is not going to violate her conscience,” her lawyer, Mathew Staver, said, with his arm around Davis. She was also flanked by Republic presidential candidate Mike Huckabee.
Staver, the founder of Christian religious advocacy group Liberty Counsel, said Davis would continue to ask for an accommodation to remove her name and her authority from the marriage certificates.
Huckabee called her a “brave lady” for her willingness to go to jail for what she believed.
Another Republican president hopeful, Ted Cruz, was seen entering and leaving the Carter County Detention Center.
State Representative David Hale, a Davis supporter who was in the crowd, said he will push for legislation to take marriage licenses out of the hands of county clerks and move it to the Office of Vital Statistics.
Not everyone in the crowd was a Davis supporter.
“I am only OK with it if she agrees to do her job,” said Beth Baker, of Grayson.
As an Apostolic Christian, Davis says she believes a marriage can only be between a man and a woman. She has refused to issue any marriage licenses since the U.S. Supreme Court in June made same-sex marriages legal across the United States.
While she was jailed, the county’s deputy clerks issued marriage licenses to several same-sex couples.
Davis, who is 9 days shy of her 50th birthday, was ordered into custody by Bunning on Sept. 3 after continuing to defy his order to issue the licenses in accordance with the law.
Bunning secured the assurances of five of six deputy clerks who stated under oath that they would comply with the court’s orders and issue licenses to all legally eligible couples.
The deputies will need to file status reports every fourteen days to prove they are in compliance, the order said.
Davis, a Democrat, was elected to her position in November 2014 after 27 years as deputy clerk of Rowan County. She took over the office from her mother, who served for 37 years. Her son Nathan, a deputy clerk, was the only one not to pledge compliance with the judge’s orders.
Her faith became central to her life in the last four years, following the death of her mother-in-law, she said in a statement issued last week through her legal representatives, Liberty Counsel.
Grayson, a town in northeastern Kentucky, canceled school out of concern over increased traffic coinciding with dismissal time. (Additional reporting by Jonathan Herskovitz in Austin)