This post has been updated.
As Kentucky clerk Kim Davis refuses to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, the Republican presidential candidates have split on whether Davis should have to comply with the recent Supreme Court ruling. Davis has said she’s defying the law “on God’s authority.”
All of the candidates who have weighed in have expressed opposition to gay marriage, but while some have defended Davis, others have called on her to follow the law.
The former Arkansas governor said in a Wednesday statement that Davis is “person of great conviction” and argued that she does not need to follow the Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage.
The senator from Kentucky said on Tuesday that Davis is “making a stand,” which is “an important part of the American way.” He suggested that states stop issuing marriage licenses altogether.
In a statement to the New York Times on Wednesday, the senator from Florida said, “While the clerk’s office has a governmental duty to carry out the law … there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office.”
The senator from Texas wrote in a Wednesday Facebook post that there should be “alternative ways to ensure that government functions are accomplished without infringing on religious liberty.”
“We should make it possible for believers, such as Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis in Kentucky, to hold government jobs without having to violate their religious beliefs,” he said.
The Louisiana governor told the Huffington Post that Davis should not have to resign because nobody “should have to choose between following their conscience, their religious beliefs and giving up their job or facing financial sanctions.”
The senator from South Carolina said that as a public official, the Kentucky clerk “comply with the law or resign,” though he noted he supports “traditional marriage.”
Fiorina told radio host Hugh Hewitt that while she believes the U.S. “must protect religious liberties with great passion,” government employees must either follow the law or resign.
“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. And, while I disagree with this court’s decision, their actions are clear,” she said.
The New Jersey governor did not detail exactly how he feels Davis should proceed.
“What I’ve said before is for someone who works in the government has a bit of a different obligation than someone who’s in the private sector or obviously working for educational institutions that’s religiously based or others,” he told conservative radio host Laura Ingraham on Wednesday. He added that “we have to protect religious liberty and people’s ability to be able to practice their religion freely and openly, and of course we have to enforce the law too.”
The retired neurosurgeon has not spoken out himself on the issue, but Armstrong Williams, a Carson confidante, told TPM that the candidate “has said since the Supreme Court ruling that it is the law of land and that’s what he respects.”
When asked for the Wisconsin governor’s position on whether Davis should have to resign, the campaign gave TPM a vague statement on same-sex marriage and religious liberty.
“Gov. Walker has always believed marriage is between one man and one woman and has consistently said that states should have the right to define marriage under the Constitution. As president, he will enforce the law, which means also protecting the religious liberty of all Americans,” Walker spokesperson AshLee Strong said in an email to TPM.
In an interview with the Washington Post published on Wednesday, the Ohio governor wouldn’t address whether Davis should have to follow the Supreme Court ruling.
“I’ve taken my position on it,” he said. “Glad you didn’t touch on any hot button issues!”
A spokesman for Kasich later told the Post that he was referring to his statement on the Supreme Court ruling, in which the governor said Ohio would follow the ruling since it is the “law of the land.”
The former Florida governor said on Thursday that Davis “is sworn to uphold the law” but suggested that clerks be able to opt out of certain duties if they object for religious reasons.
The real estate mogul said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” on Friday morning that while he believes that the Supreme Court ruling is the “law of the land,” clerks should be able to “take a pass” on issuing marriage licenses to gay couples if they believe it violates their beliefs.
The former senator from Pennsylvania told CNN on Friday morning that Davis’ actions were “heroic” and that “putting her in jail is ridiculous.”
As of Friday morning, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) and former New York Gov. George Pataki (R) had yet to weigh in on the issue.