Ohio Gov. John Kasich (R) bemoaned the spectacle in Kentucky over same-sex marriage Tuesday, distancing himself from some of his fellow GOP presidential candidates who have literally embraced Kim Davis.
The Rowan County clerk emerged from jail Tuesday afternoon after a judge ordered her locked up last week for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Davis, an Apostolic Christian, said she simply couldn't comply because the action "irreparably and irreversibly violates her conscience."
Since then, she has become a hero among religious conservatives, and supporters -- including former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee (R) -- threw a rally for her upon her release. Huckabee has said Davis' case demonstrates the "criminalization of Christianity in America." Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), another GOP presidential contender, also visited Davis Tuesday.
But in an interview with Fox News host Neil Cavuto Tuesday, Kasich worried that the Davis episode may actually weaken religion by alienating people.
"We have a lot of young people that have walked away from, or are confused or uncertain about personal faith. And one of the things that I know that's so great about it -- being a flawed man -- is that, thank God we have grace," Kasich said.
"In this case, when young people, or people who are looking at what is religion all about, what is faith all about -- when they see dust-ups like this, my concern is they would go the other way and say, 'Look, I don't want anything to do with that,'" he added.
Kasich also said that while he supports so-called "traditional marriage" and understands Davis' concerns, "we have bigger fish to fry in terms of the whole issue of faith."
"For me, it means I can forgive ... It means I am supposed to live a life bigger than myself. It means I have to be aware of those who are the downtrodden and the widows, the orphans," Kasich added.
He reiterated that marriage equality is now the law of the land, thanks to the U.S. Supreme Court, and that government officials need to abide by that ruling.
U.S. District Judge David Bunning released Davis after her deputies began issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Bunning warned that, as part of her release, Davis may not interfere with the duties of her deputy clerks.