On Tuesday, U.S. District Judge David Bunning released anti-gay Kentucky clerk Kim Davis from jail, ordering her not to interfere with the deputy clerks who issued marriage licenses in her absence. Bunning held Davis in contempt after she openly defied his order to grant marriage licenses to all eligible couples—a fundamental aspect of her taxpayer-funded job. Davis insisted that issuing a marriage license to a gay couple would violate her religious liberty. She also refused to let her deputy clerks issue licenses, as her name would still be on them.
Attorneys for the same-sex couples requesting a license asked that Bunning only fine Davis. But the judge sent Davis to jail, reasoning that her supporters would pay any fine he levied. Because most of her deputy clerks are now issuing licenses, Bunning wrote on Tuesday that he was “satisfied that the clerk’s office is fulfilling its obligation to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”
Bunning announced his decision shortly before a planned rally at the jail calling for Davis’ release. Republican presidential hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz both declared that they would meet with Davis at the detention facility today, and Huckabee intended to lead the rally. It is unclear whether the demonstration will proceed now that Davis is a free woman—though given her attorneys’ love of publicity, the show seems quite likely to go on.
Update, Sept. 8: Huckabee met with Davis after her release in a show of support.
Davis’ attorney also alleged that the marriage licenses issued in Davis’ absence are invalid.