This post has been updated.
Anyone hoping they’d never hear from Kim Davis again in the new year is out of luck. The Kentucky county clerk, who became infamous in 2015 after she spent time in prison over her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, will be attending President Obama’s State of the Union address on Tuesday night. Early on Tuesday, The Washington Examiner reported that Davis would be attending the address as the guest of Tony Perkins, head of the extreme right wing Christian group, the Family Research Council, though some mystery surrounded whether Davis would actually be showing up and how she secured an invitation. The Family Research Council posted a message on Twitter with a link to The Washington Examiner story, but it was The Huffington Post that eventually got to the bottom of the mystery and confirmed that Davis would indeed be in attendance. How’d she snag the invitation? From a Republican congressman who didn’t even realize he’d invited her. HuffPost reporter Matt Fuller questioned U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan from Ohio about whether he’d invited Davis. Jordan’s initial response was that he didn’t know and that he’d check with his staff. Later, Jordan told HuffPost the his office had given tickets to the Family Research Council, which then passed the tickets to Davis.”And I’m being totally honest with you,” Jordan said. “Family Research Council asked us, her family wanted a ticket, and we said ‘OK.'” Davis similarly finagled her way into a meeting with Pope Francis last fall during his U.S. visit.
For its part, the White House has invited Jim Obergefell, the plaintiff whose Supreme Court case eventually brought about the legalization of gay marriage nationwide, to sit in first lady Michelle Obama’s box during the speech, along with 23 others. These guests “represent the progress we have made since the president first delivered this speech seven years ago,” according to the White House. The State of the Union takes place Tuesday night at 9 p.m. EST, and the Republican rebuttal will be delivered by South Carolina governor Nikki Haley.