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Judge frees Kentucky clerk

Rowan County clerk Kim Davis was released from prison on Friday after spending five days behind bars for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

U.S. District Court Judge David Bunning on Tuesday ordered Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis be released from the custody of U.S. Marshals and a contempt order against her lifted. Bunning’s order stipulates that Davis “not interfere in any way, directly or indirectly, with the efforts of her deputy clerks to issue marriage licenses to all legally eligible couples.”
 
Appearing at a rally with presidential candidate Mike Huckabee, Davis vowed to keep standing up for her Christian beliefs in the face of public criticism.    
 
“His people have rallied and you are a strong people,” a weeping Davis told the crowd of supporters in Morehead, Ky. “Just keep on pressing. Don’t let down.”

“I just want to give God the glory,” Davis added.  “We serve a living God who knows exactly where each and every one of us is at.  He is worthy, he is worthy.”

 
Davis was taken into federal custody last Thursday after being found in contempt of court for refusing the judge’s order to issue the marriage licenses.
 
Five of the six deputy clerks for Davis, the exception being her son, began issuing licenses to same-sex couples last Friday, while Davis was behind bars. 
 
Lawyers for Davis filed appeals over the Labor Day weekend in an attempt to force her release, according to CBS News. 
 
Davis has cited her Christian beliefs as a religious objection to issuing the licenses, and has been defended by several Republican presidential candidates. 
 
Among those, Sen. Ted Cruz (Texas) and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who both traveled to Kentucky on Tuesday to support the jailed clerk.
 
“I am tired of watching people being just harassed because they believe something of their faith and we cannot criminalize the Christian faith or any faith in this country,” said Huckabee, a former Republican governor of Arkansas.
 
The case has become a flashpoint in the debate over religious liberty following the Supreme Court’s ruling on same-sex marriage in June.
 

Davis refused to hand out licenses after that decision, prompting litigation.

 
The latest order is likely to set up another confrontation on Wednesday for Davis when she is expected to return to work. 
 
“Nothing has been resolved,” her lawyer, Mathew Staver, told NBC News after Bunning ordered her released.
 

“She told the court Thursday that she can’t allow licenses to go out under her name and her authority that authorize a marriage that collides with her conscience and religious conviction, and Kim is not changed on that position,” he said.

 
This story was last updated at 5:17 p.m. Mark Hensch contributed.
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