After spending five days in jail over refusing to issue same-sex couples marriage licenses, Kim Davis was ordered to be released on Tuesday by the same judge who had her thrown behind bars in the first place. U.S. District Judge David Bunning, who overturned the contempt order against Davis, said he was satisfied that her deputies in the Rowan County clerk’s office in Kentucky were carrying out their obligations to issue marriage licenses to all couples seeking them in Davis’ absence. They began handing out licenses to gay couples the day after Davis was incarcerated. Davis has repeatedly said that issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples was against her Christian faith, and after being thrown in jail, she was lionized by conservatives, some of whom said she was an example of Christianity being criminalized. Supporters had gathered outside the jail on Tuesday to hold a rally for freedom of religion. Republican 2016 hopefuls Mike Huckabee and Ted Cruz have glommed onto the Davis melodrama and were planning to make jailhouse visits to her prior to the judge’s release order. Bunning warned Davis’ release was conditional on her not interfering with her deputies’ ability to continue issuing marriage licenses to all couples. Huckabee, denied the jailhouse visit by Tuesday’s surprise development, wasted no time snagging a photo op with Davis and her husband, which he posted on Twitter moments later along with the message, “I was honored to meet w/ #. A woman of such strong faith and conviction.”
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