Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis and the changing story of her meeting with Pope Francis

10/02/2015 12:53 PM

Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis, who is now a Republican, made national headlines this week after visiting with Pope Francis during the Pontiff’s inaugural trip to the United States.

Davis’ lawyer, Mat Staver, first broke news of the meeting with Francis in an interview this week with USA Today.

According to Staver, Davis and her husband Joe were snuck into the Vatican Embassy in Washington, D.C. Staver tells the newspaper and online outlet that Davis met with Francis for about 15 minutes after hanging around the embassy for two hours.

Numerous news sources have reported on the meeting, during which Staver said Francis told Davis to “stay strong” and thanked her for her courage.

Davis, an Apostolic Christian, spent five days in jail for disobeying a federal judge’s order to issue marriage licenses in Kentucky. Davis has refused to issue any licenses in Rowan County after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex couples could marry – striking down Kentucky’s constitutional ban against the practice.

While the Vatican initially was mum on the meeting late this week, an official said the Pope did meet with Davis, and around a dozen others, but the meeting should not be misconstrued as a reflection of Francis’ opinion of Davis’ case.

“The Pope did not enter into details of the situation of Mrs. Davis and his meeting with her should not be considered a form of support on her position in all of its particular and complex aspects,” Rev. Federico Lombardi he said in a statement.

The Vatican’s statements play almost like the standard Twitter disclaimer – retweets don’t equal endorsement.

As the Vatican backs away from Davis and the controversy surrounding the Kentucky elected official, the latest Bluegrass Poll shows a majority of Kentuckians do not agree with Davis.

According to the poll conducted by Survey USA for Bluegrass Poll Partners The Lexington Herald Leader, Courier Journal, WHAS-TV and WKYT-TV — 51 percent said Davis should be required to issue marriage licenses, 42 percent said she should not, and 7 percent said they were not sure.

The survey included 866 registered voters and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.4 percentage points.

A recent poll from the Washington Post and ABC found that nationally more people do not support Davis’ actions with 63 percent saying she should be required to issue marriage licenses, and 33 percent believing she shouldn’t.

The gubernatorial candidates also will not be able to dodge issues of the Kim Davis controversy anytime soon.

In a debate held this week with Kentucky Sports Radio, host Matt Jones sought clarification from Republican candidate Matt Bevin who has been clear on his stance that he stands with Kim Davis.

Jones asked Bevin what he would have done if he were in Davis’ shoes — would issuing marriage licenses to same sex couples violate Bevin’s religious beliefs?

Bevin tried to dodge the question by saying he is not a county clerk. When pressed, he said that he agrees with her as a Christian.

Jones went on to ask, if elected governor, would there be any laws he would not be able to enforce due to his religious beliefs. Bevin said there were no exemptions he would ask for due to his religious beliefs.

Democratic candidate Jack Conway was also asked about Davis in the debate. Jones asked the Attorney General about those who said that he should have done his job and appealed a ruling to strike down Kentucky’s ban on same-sex marriage.

Conway told Jones that he felt that by taking the case further he would lose the appeal, and waste millions of dollars.

When Jones pressed Conway on how he knew how the Supreme Court would rule, Conway said he has watched how Justice Kennedy had ruled on past cases, and said that “the good paying jobs of the future were coming to states that have policies of inclusivity.”


Subscribe to email updates.

Subscribe and get the latest political intelligence delivered to your inbox.