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Presidential Candidates Take Sides On Support For Kentucky Clerk

At an event in New Hampshire Thursday, Bush said there "ought to be common ground" between Kim Davis being able to "act on her conscience" and for gay couples to be allowed to be married.
Jim Cole
At an event in New Hampshire Thursday, Bush said there "ought to be common ground" between Kim Davis being able to "act on her conscience" and for gay couples to be allowed to be married.

Kim Davis, a clerk in Rowan County, Ky., is in jail for refusing to issue marriage licenses after same-sex marriage became legal. A same-sex couple received a marriage license in Davis' office Friday morning from a deputy clerk.

But the controversy isn't over. It has divided the crowded campaign trail into those who stand with Davis, and those who don't — plus one in the middle.

Here are the candidates who say Davis was wrong to refuse marriage licenses:

Hillary Clinton: "Officials should be held to their duty to uphold the law."

Carly Fiorina: "We must protect religious liberties with great passion ... Having said that, when you are a government employee, I think you take on a different role. When you are a government employee as opposed to say, an employee of another kind of organization, then in essence, you are agreeing to act as an arm of the government."

Lindsey Graham: "This Supreme Court case is binding on her actions as a public official in Kentucky."

John Kasich: Asked about the issue by the Washington Post, Kasich said, "I've taken my position on it." A spokesman later said he was referring to his reaction to the Supreme Court's same-sex marriage decision earlier this summer.

Donald Trump: "You have to go with it. The decision's been made, and that is the law of the land."

Jeb Bush tried to strike a middle ground at an event in New Hampshire, saying there "ought to be big enough space" for Davis and same-sex marriage licenses to co-exist.

Jeb Bush: "[Davis] is sworn to uphold the law and it seems to me there ought to be common ground, there ought to be big enough space for her to act on her conscience and for, now that the law is the law of the land, for a gay couple to be married in whatever jurisdiction that is."

Those voicing support for Davis:

Ted Cruz: "I stand with Kim Davis, unequivocally."

Mike Huckabee: "I want people to stand up for their convictions."

Rand Paul: "I think it's absurd to put someone in jail for exercising their religious liberty."

Bobby Jindal: "Even rich New Yorkers should oppose jailing Christians for their religious beliefs."

Scott Walker: "In the end, this is the balance that you gotta have to have in America, between the laws that are out there, but ultimately ensuring that the Constitution is upheld ... I read that the Constitution is very clear that people have freedom of religion — you have the freedom to practice religious beliefs out there, it's a fundamental right."

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Amita Kelly is a Washington editor, where she works across beats and platforms to edit election, politics and policy news and features stories.
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