Poll: Most want clerks issuing same-sex marriage licenses

Most Americans say that government clerks must issue same-sex marriage certificates regardless of their own religious beliefs, a new poll says.

An AP-GfK survey released Friday finds that 56 percent think government employees must always issue the controversial licenses no matter their convictions, while 41 percent back an exemption for those who oppose gay marriage on religious grounds.

That's a shift from July, when 49 percent backed religious exemptions and 47 percent did not.

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Friday’s results follow a controversy over the issue’s moral complications in September when Rowan County clerk Kim Davis was briefly jailed in Kentucky for being in contempt of a court order commanding her to issue the licenses.

Davis, a born-again Christian, repeatedly refused based on the teachings of her faith against the practice.

The issue split the GOP’s crowded 2016 field, with some arguing the government should protect religious liberty and others charging that its officials must obey the law.

Friday’s survey also found that 51 percent back safeguarding religious liberty when it conflicts with same-sex rights.

Another 45 percent, meanwhile, believe that protecting gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender rights is more important.

AP-GfK added that 56 percent ranked protecting religious liberty higher during its July sampling.

It conducted its latest survey of 1,027 adults from Oct. 15-19. It has a 3.3 percent margin of error.