Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said the U.S. Supreme Court crossed a line when it "decided out of thin air" to legalize same-sex marriage, and he vowed to stand by Kim Davis, the Kentucky county clerk who went to jail this month for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
"I thought that everybody here passed ninth-grade civics," he said in Wednesday night's GOP debate. "I thought we had three branches of government. They were all equal to each other. We have separation of powers, and we had checks and balances. If the court can just make a decision and we just all surrender to it, we have what Jefferson said was 'judicial tyranny.'"
The Supreme Court ruling, obviously, was not out of thin air. It was a yearslong court case that made its way through the legal system before the justices ruled on it. That is to say, it was entirely constitutional.
Huckabee compared the treatment of Davis to the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, and the 2013 shooter at Fort Hood, who was allowed to grow a beard while in prison because of his Muslim faith. He said the government made accommodations for their religious faith, but not for Davis when she refused to issue marriage licenses.
"You're telling me that we cannot make an accommodation for an elected Democrat county clerk from Rowan County, Kentucky?" Huckabee asked. "What else is it other than the criminalization of her faith and the exaltation of the faith of everyone else who might be a Fort Hood shooter or a detainee at GITMO."
Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush pointed out that Davis was sworn to uphold the law as a county clerk, so if she can't do that, she might need to find another job.
"You can't just say, 'Well, the gays can't get married now,'" Bush said. "If she, based on her conscience, can't sign that marriage license, then there should be someone in her office to be able to do it."
Read the latest updates on the GOP debate here.
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