Marco Rubio Says Government Should Respect Kim Davis’s Beliefs

Senator Marco Rubio of Florida said on Wednesday that the government should respect the beliefs of the Kentucky county clerk who has denied marriage licenses to same-sex couples, arguing that society needs to accommodate public officials who object to carrying out duties they say violate their religious beliefs.

“We should seek a balance between government’s responsibility to abide by the laws of our republic and allowing people to stand by their religious convictions,” Mr. Rubio said in a statement to The New York Times, his first public remarks on the case.

“While the clerk’s office has a governmental duty to carry out the law,” he added, “there should be a way to protect the religious freedom and conscience rights of individuals working in the office.”

The clerk, Kim Davis, of Rowan County, Ky., has turned away gay men and lesbians who want to marry after the Supreme Court in June established a nationwide right to same-sex marriage. Despite numerous rulings against her, including one this week from the Supreme Court, she has remained defiant. Ms. Davis will face a federal judge on Thursday morning who will decide whether to declare her in contempt of court.

Many Republicans have tried to move past the heated emotions over same-sex marriage, hopeful that the Supreme Court ruling made the issue largely moot. But the debate is resurfacing as many conservatives push for exemptions for people like Ms. Davis on religious liberty grounds.

Mr. Rubio favors broad religious exemptions. “Marriage is the most important institution in our society, and I believe it should be between one man and one woman,” he said in his statement. “Our nation was founded on the human right of religious freedom, and our elected leaders have a duty to protect that right by ensuring that no one is forced by the government to violate their conscience and deeply held religious beliefs about traditional marriage.”

Resource: http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/09/02/marco-rubio-says-government-should-respect-kim-daviss-beliefs

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