NEW: Mat Staver, the lawyer for Kim Davis, says "the Democratic Party has left her"
A tearful Davis receives an award at the Values Voter Summit
Kim Davis has said farewell to the Democratic Party. The Kentucky county clerk at the center of a fight over religious freedom and same-sex marriage says she is now a Republican.
“She has come to the conclusion that the Democratic Party has left her,” her lawyer, Mat Staver, said Saturday in a statement. “She has decided to switch her voter registration. However, the issue of religious freedom in this case is not a partisan issue. It is neither Republican nor Democrat. It is an inalienable right and what makes America the land of liberty.”
Staver said Davis “has been a lifelong Democrat but has received no support from the Democratic Party or leaders.”
The party switch was revealed Friday when a Reuters reporter asked whether she’d ever considered switching parties. Davis replied, “I’ve already done that.”
The controversial clerk says the rest of her family switched parties, too.
“They’re all changed,” she told Reuters. “My husband and I had talked about it for quite a while.”
Davis did not comment on her political affiliation Friday night when she was honored at the 10th annual Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C. The gathering of social conservatives is sponsored by the Family Research Council, an activist conservative group.
The 49-year-old clerk was the recipient of the group’s “Cost of Discipleship Award.”
Davis was personally invited to the summit by FRC President Tony Perkins who, after meeting her earlier this month, said, “Kim Davis wasn’t looking for this fight, but she is not running from it, either.”
In brief remarks, Davis said, “I want to start by thanking my Lord and my Savior Jesus Christ, because without him none of this would have ever been possible,” she said.
“For he is my strength that carries me and it is his mercies that follow me every day. And it is his love that endures all things,” she continued.
Referencing biblical verses throughout her speech, Davis tearfully thanked the Values Voter Summit for the award and, with her voice rising to a near-shout, concluded, “I am only one, but we are many.”
A federal judge ordered Davis to jail earlier this month over her refusal to issue marriage licenses with her name on them to same-sex couples in her county. Before being ordered to jail, Davis also refused to allow clerks in her office to issue licenses. She cited her biblical opposition to same-sex marriage.
Davis spent six days in jail for contempt of federal court. Since her release, Davis has allowed the licenses to be issued, but only with her name and title removed. Each license includes a statement saying it is issued “pursuant to a court order.”
The ACLU has filed a motion in federal court claiming Davis’ actions are interfering with the licenses in defiance of a federal order, possibly making them invalid.