Washington CNN —  

One day after appearing on stage with Rowan County clerk Kim Davis, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee said he did not expect her to back down from her position on religious freedom and said the issue is the most important one in the 2016 election.

“I think the most important issue in the presidential election is: What do we believe the Constitution teaches about the separation of powers, the distribution of powers?” Huckabee told Alisyn Camerota on CNN’s “New Day” on Wednesday.

Huckabee has framed the issue as a matter of “judicial tyranny” and said Wednesday he was looking forward to taking it up at the debate.

“She’s made it very clear, as has her attorney yesterday when we had the press conference, that she does not plan to violate her conscience,” Huckabee added. “She’s not going to surrender and give up her basic First Amendment rights, which by the way are expressly clear in the Constitution, nothing in the Constitution says there’s any interest in marriage, but there is absolutely interest in protecting peoples right to religious liberty.”

Huckabee coordinated a rally for Davis and shared a prime spot on stage Tuesday, by her side, as she was released after five days in prison. He said Wednesday that he expects the issue to be a prominent one during CNN’s Republican Presidential Debate next week at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library.

But the former Arkansas governor, who has always held strong support among religious conservatives, struggled to answer a question about whether Charee Stanley, a Muslim flight attendant, was rightfully suspended from her job for refusing to serve alcohol on flights.

“Historically we have made accommodations for people with religious convictions,” Huckabee said. “You’ve seen it in Michigan where they spend $25,000 for Muslims, providing foot baths. I saw it personally when I visited Gitmo and I was watched as terrorists who were being detained in Gitmo there were signs painted on the floor that directed them to Mecca, we gave them prayer rugs and provided expensive Halal meals that cost more than three times what the meals cost for the soldiers who guarded them.”

Meanwhile, at least one same-sex couple received a marriage license from the Rowan County Clerk’s Office on Wednesday morning.