© Jonathan Swan
Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who became a hero to conservatives after refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was compared to Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks as she was awarded a prize by a prominent Christian organization Friday evening.
Dabbing her eyes with a tissue and with a trembling voice, Davis told hundreds of evangelical Christians: “I feel so very undeserving.”
“I want to start by thanking my lord and my savior Jesus Christ, because without him it would never be possible, for he is my strength that carries me,” Davis said.
“I am only one,” she shouted to be heard above the cheering crowd. “But we are many.”
The president of the Family Research Council, Tony Perkins, announced Davis as the 2015 winner of the “Cost of Discipleship Award” for her determined resistance to same-sex marriage.
The ceremony, held at the Values Voter Summit in Washington D.C.’s Omni Shoreham Hotel, followed a day of speeches by conservatives including Republican candidates Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Ben Carson.
Presenting Davis with her award, Perkins compared the Rowan County, Ky., clerk to historical figures: “Men and women of integrity few in number but deep in character.”
“Whether it was Abraham Lincoln asserting the Constitutionally unsettled nature of the Dred Scott decision; Rosa Parks refusing to sit at the back of a public bus or Martin Luther King risking the … call of police dogs to end legal segregation,” Perkins said, “our nation has been ennobled and enriched by historic citizens who declare their unwillingness to accept rulings and statutes that conflict with the laws of nature and with nature’s God.”
Just hours before addressing the Values Voter Summit, Davis told the media that she had quit the Democratic Party.
Davis, who was elected as a Democrat, says she’s supported the party her whole life but left last week because she believed Democrats did not support her faith.
Davis was jailed for five nights over the summer for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples after the Supreme Court ruled in June that the Constitution guarantees a right to gay marriage.
Through her religiously motivated opposition, Davis endeared herself to evangelicals and conservative political leaders.
Cruz and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, both GOP presidential candidates, appeared at a rally to support her and issued strong statements advocating her right to refuse marriage licenses as a matter of conscience and religious liberty.
Davis now considers herself a Republican.