Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis is not the only county clerk who has stopped issuing licenses in the wake of the Supreme Court’s same-sex marriage ruling.
Officials in a dozen counties in Alabama have also stopped taking applications, as have two others in Kentucky. But compliance elsewhere has been widespread, even in the most devout parts of the Bible Belt, according to gay rights groups that have been tracking policies county by county.
Legal experts predicted some acts of defiance after the same-sex ruling, citing backlash after other Supreme Court decisions, including the 1973 decision that legalized abortion nationally and the 1954 ruling to desegregate public schools. But gay rights advocates played down the significance of the fight in Rowan County, saying Davis has drawn national attention precisely because her defiance is so unusual.
“Our opponents predicted there would be riots in the streets and people of faith would be protesting up and down the country. . . . And it just hasn’t happened at all,” said Marc Solomon, national campaign director for Freedom to Marry, a group that fought for same-sex marriage.
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“If this is the big backlash that our opponents are predicting,” he said, “it sure ain’t much.”
The protests by Davis and others has injected the issue of religious liberties into the Republican presidential primary race.
On Tuesday, one GOP candidate, Sen. Lindsey Graham (S.C.), called on Davis to “comply with the law or resign.”
“The rule of law is the rule of law,” the senator told conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt. While Graham “appreciates her conviction” and “supports traditional marriage” himself, he said, Davis “has accepted a job where she has to apply the law to everyone.”