Republican presidential candidates are split on whether a Kentucky county clerk should be forced to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
The case of Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who has cited religious objections in refusing to issue the licenses, has pushed gay marriage toward the center of political debate at a time when the Republican Party is grappling with its stance on the issue.
The clerk’s crusade has become the first major legal flare-up over gay marriage since the Supreme Court’s decision in late June that legalized gay marriage nationwide.
Most of the Republican presidential candidates denounced the high court’s ruling, calling it judicial overreach that threatens the religious liberty of faith-based organizations and business owners.
Democrats mostly cheered the court while dismissing the warnings about religious freedom as overblown.
With attention on the case growing, presidential contenders are beginning to stake out their positions on whether Rowan should be compelled to issue the licenses.
Mike Huckabee, a Southern Baptist minister, on Wednesday gave Rowan a full-throated endorsement after speaking to her on the phone.